Warwickshire have successfully completed their mission of lifting the County Championship trophy they so heart-wrenchingly lost on the final day of the 2011 season, completing a wonderful 12 months for the Midlands club.
Warwickshire resumed their bowling attack at New Road against a poor Worcestershire side on Thursday and cantered to victory, winning the game just after lunch by an innings and 202 runs.
Their prize: the County Championship that alluded them at the end of last summer, a fine reward for a year of hard work for coach Ashley Giles and his squad.
Giles was rightly disappointed to miss out last year as already-relegated Hampshire defended seven wickets on the final day of the season to hand Lancashire top spot.
This disappointment only spurred the team on and it was fitting that captain Jim Troughton was there to lift the trophy.
“Even the next day [after the 2011 season] we were talking about what we had to do to improve,” Troughton explained to ESPN Cricinfo. “I remember we said: right, be proud of what you’ve achieved, but let this be the catalyst to win the title with a game in hand next year.”
And what a catalyst it was! A narrow two-wicket victory over Somerset back in April began the new season and Giles’ men were soon in their stride, picking up four wins in six and punters who bet on cricket quickly decided that there was always only going to be one winner.
A single loss against Somerset hardly slowed the Giles juggernaut, with line betting fans seeing them a a safe weekly punt. After taking Worcestershire apart by seven wickets at Edgbaston in August, suddenly the title was in sight.
It is fitting that a squad that came so close last season can hold together for a new campaign and go one better. Praise must be given to Giles for keeping this Warwickshire team settled as he becomes one of few men to win the County Championships both as a player and coach.