JUBILANT Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate said his side’s remarkable County Championship success felt like winning the World Cup.

Essex returned home to their Chelmsford ground on Friday afternoon to celebrate securing their first title since 1992.

They put themselves on the brink of glory by thrashing Warwickshire inside three days, and then watched second-placed Lancashire lose at Somerset on the coach back from Edgbaston.

Essex therefore completed their task with two matches to spare - an amazing achievement in their first season back in the top flight following promotion last summer.

Moments after stepping off the coach, ten Doeschate said: “I’m not sure it’s sunk in.

“But I think coming here and seeing all the staff shows what it means to the organisation as a whole.

“It will probably take a few days to appreciate the scale of what we have achieved.

“I think without a doubt it’s the proudest moment of my career.

“All the years of struggle, all the years of being nearly-beens, this makes up for it.

“If you look back over the history of the Championship and the yo-yo effect of teams coming up and going straight back down - and we are a small club with limited resources - I know what it means to me and everyone at the club.

“For us it feels like the World Cup. We won’t have a better feeling than this.”

Jamie Porter has been a shining light this season, and led the wicket-takers chart with 64 (at the time of press).

And he said they always intended to win the title this year, despite only securing promotion last season.

“This was the ambition,” confirmed Porter. “A lot of people thought it was a bit too ambitious, but we thought, ‘Why not?’.

“It’s something we’ll never forget.”