Kent will play Division One cricket for the first time since 2010 next season after securing promotion with an emphatic innings and 172 runs win against Glamorgan at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Thursday.
Captain Sam Billings’ side had to wait over two hours after defeating the Welsh visitors to see if third-placed Sussex could catch them before the champagne corks popped.
Sussex needed to get to 400 in their first innings against table-topping Warwickshire at Hove, which would have meant Kent could be caught.
They didn’t – they were dismissed for 343 and the celebrations started in Canterbury.
After promotion was secured, Billings said: “I’ve never played first division Championship cricket and it’s always been my ambition, so I’m tremendously proud that this team has taken Kent back to the level of English cricket that this great club feels it belongs.
“It’s been a monumental effort from everyone in the club, a whole squad effort. The effect Paul Downton has had, as our director of cricket, has been immense behind the scenes, backing up a squad of guys playing for each other and moving in the same direction.
“The team camaraderie is like nothing I’ve experienced with Kent before so it’s a very special day and for me and fitting that one of our youngest players, Zak Crawley, was the stand out performer in this game.
“That shows how far we’ve come, that Zak can come in and play that well in a crunch game. He showed his class and then we had the old guard of Darren Stevens to polish it off, which sums up our season, it’s not just been one bloke, it’s been everyone chipping in to make this a fantastic squad effort.
“This is only a start, promotion is fine but we want to win the Championship next week at Warwickshire, then on to next year.”