Dave Henderson has spoken of his pride and relief after guiding Portsmouth to Southern Electric division two promotion.
The St Helens outfit claimed a comprehensive 115-run win at Hursley Park, which means they now need just five points from their final three fixtures to make their elevation to division one a mathematical certainty.
In reality, the job is already done as Bashley (Rydal) II would also need to take maximum points from all three matches to deny Portsmouth promotion.
Henderson admits that the objective has now been achieved.
He said: ‘Promotion is pretty much guaranteed now so it was a great day for us.
‘It’s just a handful of bonus points that we need to be mathematically certain of it now.
‘The message afterwards was “job done but now let’s finish the season off properly”.
‘We had a little wobble a few weeks ago and everyone doubted themselves for a week or two.
‘But everyone is pleased that we’ve done it and not left it until the last game.
‘The feeling is a mixture of pride and relief to be honest.
‘The young guys have done all the hard work.
‘We’ve got a few players who are 18 and 19 years old and I’ve seen them mature over the course of the season massively.
‘They are a bit more battle-hardened and they are definitely ready for division one cricket next year.’
While Portsmouth’s bowling has been the driving force behind their fine campaign, their batsmen delivered in impressive style as Harry Collier (84), Jack Marston (70) and Will Smitherman (50) all hit half-centuries in their mighty 322 for five.
Collier then capped a man-of-the-match display with the ball as he picked up five for 46, while Vikram Dawson (three for 47) also continued his fine season.
Henderson said: ‘We’ve been pretty strong with the bowling all season so it was nice that the win was led by the batting this time.
‘It was a strong team performance.’
The typically-modest Henderson also played down his own contribution in guiding his young side to promotion, drawing comparisons with the departing Australia captain in the wake of the Ashes defeat.
He said: ‘I’m feeling a bit like Michael Clarke – we’re a 10-man team with me in it. Although, I suppose we have won a few games this season!
‘I’m missing the next two games but I’m sure they will be an even better team without me.
‘So I’ll miss the actual confirmation of promotion but I’ve already had my moments this season so I’m fine with that!
‘I’ve had more than enough adrenalin for one season.’