Surrey will be playing division one cricket in 2012 after an extraordinary day capped off an extraordinary month. Less than a month ago we lay in seventh position in division two, had just been hammered by Kent inside three days and the future was looking anything but bright.
However the subsequent four fixtures saw a scarcely believable turnaround in form and the four consecutive wins we needed to be withing shouting distance of promotion were duly delivered. The man who must surely count as the biggest single contributor to that run of victories, Pragyan Ojha, delivered again today in polishing off Derbyshire with 6-48 and 10-90 in the match. In our final four fixtures where we've won 89 of a possible 96 points, Ojha has taken precisely 30% of the wickets to fall - 24 victims at a cost of just 12 runs apiece. It was about time Adams had some luck on the overseas signing front, and what a time to get it. It's a great shame that it seems unlikely he will be available for 2011 - it is imperative that we recruit a world class spinner in his place.
That's not to say there weren't other big contributors. Tim Linley kept on churning out the wickets and Stuart Meaker had a timely return to form - his two five-fors in the final two games were vital. Zander de Bruyn kept up his excellent 2011 form and Steven Davies helped himself to two hundreds. And lastly Tom Maynard stepped up to the plate with an enormously important hundred in the final game.
After the Kent game I had all but thrown in the towel, indeed I said the rest of the season was about gaining respectability and giving the members something to be proud of - boy did they deliver on both those counts! Hamilton-Brown and Adams have been on the receiving end of some fairly strident criticism - some of it from me - but they should now enjoy their moment in the sun. Promotion with a young and relatively inexperienced side is a huge achievement.
So to 2012, can we compete with the best in the country? The kind of batterings we've dished out in the last three weeks suggest we'll be a match for most, and I expect there to be at least two new faces before the winter is out which will hopefully strengthen the side further. Maynard, Roy, Meaker and Hamilton-Brown himself have another season of top level cricketing experience under their belt - all a year older and wiser. This side has a great opportunity to grow together and should only improve as time goes on. And we don't have to worry about the Tiflex ball any more! Talking of Tiflex balls it will be interesting to see whether Ramprakash decides to stick it out for another year. I hope he does, he deserves the chance to go out on a high at the top level.
The players have now got an extra day of rest before Saturday's CB40 final. They go into the game on the biggest possible high and with confidence through the roof - they will be more than a match for Somerset. A win in that game would cap an absurdly successful six days of cricket, and a great climax to 2011. Come on the 'Rey!