Jimmy ADams paid a glowing tribute to his Hampshire team as they clinched County Championship division two in style.
The skipper steered his side to a convincing 291-run win at Glamorgan to seal their return to division one after a three-year absence.
Hampshire knew only a win would do in their final match of a long season after rivals Essex beat Worcestershire.
But the Ageas Bowl outfit delivered under pressure as they set the Welsh club an unlikely 444 to win in the final innings before James Tomlinson then starred with the ball taking six wickets for 48 runs as Glamorgan were bowled out for 152.
And Adams admitted there was a combination of feelings after leading his team back to the top flight.
He said: ‘We’ve had to battle hard for a whole summer to achieve this.
‘I was overjoyed out there when we got the final wicket but then you have a feeling of relief that we’ve done it.
‘It’s all a bit surreal. It’s a strange feeling but the guys have worked really hard throughout the year.
‘We’ve done it our way and it has been a great effort from Dale Benkenstein and Giles White in laying it out at the start of the year.
‘We didn’t take many short cuts and the boys have been exceptional.
‘I can’t praise them enough for what they have achieved.’
While Adams felt it was a supreme team effort over the course of the campaign, he reserved special priaise for Tomlinson.
The long-serving left-arm seamer took all of the first six wickets to fall and looked like he might go through the entire batting line-up single-handedly at one stage.
But Chris Wood and Matt Coles then chipped in before Imran Tahir grabbed the final wicket to start the celebrations.
Adams said: ‘It’s a very well-written script. Tommo has been a huge part of how we’ve gone about our cricket.
‘And it’s brilliant for him in a way because he’s not been a part of our one-day success in recent years.
‘He’s always there supporting but he’s not played.
‘So for him to be able to celebrate this after playing a big part is great because he’s had a great career.’
First-team coach Benkenstein, who has delivered promotion in his first season at the Ageas Bowl helm, was also delighted with his side’s achievement.
He said: ‘We stood up and put in the performance when it mattered.
‘That’s what makes champion teams.
‘It’s probably the most enjoyable thing for me to see how this team has fought when we have been in trouble as we were on the first day of this game.
‘It’s easy to be up for it when you are winning and everything is going brilliantly.
‘A lot of teams will buckle when they are under pressure but we didn’t.
‘I felt we deserved to go up as champions.’