Durham won their first Championship title on Saturday as English cricket's newest county held their nerve on the final day of the season.
Durham, who played their inaugural first-class match 16 years ago, routed Kent by an innings and 71 runs at Canterbury to snatch the Division One crown ahead of Nottinghamshire, who were strong favourites at the start of the final round of matches but lost their game at home to Hampshire.
Kent managed to take the contest well into the final day at the St Lawrence Ground thanks to a century stand for the sixth wicket between Justin Kemp and Ryan McLaren.
But once the two South Africans' resistance was broken, Durham knew they were closing on victory.
Durham's England pace bowler Steve Harmison took the last two wickets with successive deliveries - after Callum Thorp had bagged the first seven - to bowl out Kent for 204.
The immediate impact was that Kent, the only permanent inhabitants of the top flight since two-division cricket was introduced seven years ago, were relegated for the first time.
Four hours later Durham were crowned champions by eight points when news of Notts' defeat filtered through.
"It is an unbelievable achievement," Harmison, who took 60 wickets this season, said. "It is only 16 years as a first-class county...wow. There are some young lads up there who don't realise what sort of achievement they've just had.
"I've probably been through more bad times than good times. This is my 12th season and I've probably had more bad years than good years, but this is just a great feeling."
Harmison rated the success as a close to equalling the feeling he experienced after England's shock 2005 Ashes victory.
"The Ashes takes some beating. Because of the nature of the series win, it will always be the pinnacle," Harmison said. "But behind that, I don't think there is a prouder moment than this in my career. It's very special."
Among those with most reason for satisfaction is Geoff Cook, director of cricket and a central plank of Durham's coaching team ever since he moved back north after his playing career with Northamptonshire and England.
"Obviously Geoff has to have a special mention because he's been there from day one," Harmison added, who also singled out Jon Lewis and Alan Walker. "Look on the balcony at the coaching staff.
"Jon Lewis had four years as captain and didn't have a great deal of success.
"But what he did do was bring young Durham players through and they've just won the championship. Big thanks go to them."
Durham are expected to receive their championship trophy during the club's annual dinner at Riverside on Monday night.
The new champions had plenty of reason to toast Hampshire, who cruised to a 203-run win at Trent Bridge.
Although Chris Read's Notts side went into the final round of matches with a healthy 10-point advantage over Durham they failed to recover from a first-innings batting implosion on the second day.
Set a massive 442-run target in two and a half sessions to claim their second Division One crown in four years, Nottinghamshire went down swinging but Samit Patel's 77 and Bilal Shafayat's 48, together with an unbeaten 47 from Chris Read were in vain as the home side were all out for 238.
Dimitri Mascarenhas and Imran Tahir claimed four wickets each for the visitors.