ALEC Stewart paid tribute to Rory Burns and his Surrey side after they won the LV County Championship title for the second time in five seasons.

Victory over Yorkshire by ten wickets, their eighth win in 13 outings, ensuring that this week’s final match of the season against Lancashire at Old Trafford would be immaterial.

Surrey’s success came at the Micky Stewart Oval, their home temporarily renamed to celebrate the 90th birthday of the Surrey legend, who was looking on proudly.

His son Alec, the county’s director of cricket, paid tribute to the 22 players who have been involved in this year’s triumph. He commented: “It’s a great day and we have won this Championship truly as a squad. So many of the players have contributed significantly to this achievement – and I would include those who haven’t played much too.

“Often the mark of good sides is the strength in depth and attitude of the whole squad and that’s what you can definitely say this summer about the 22 who represented us in this competition, plus a few others who didn’t play at all.”

It was Surrey’s 20th outright title, going into the penultimate round of matches with a lead of eight points over Hampshire.

Having been sent in, the home side’s 333 all out owed much to a magnificent 136 from Ollie Pope, supported by opener Ryan Patel (41) and all-rounder Jordan Clark, who made 55 and received his county cap during the match. The value of Pope’s enterprising knock was underlined when Yorkshire were dismissed for 179 – Tom Kohler-Cadmore’s 55 the highlight – with seamer Tom Lawes claiming 4-31 to underline his remarkable first season.

Burns enforced the follow-on and this time it was spearhead Dan Worrall’s 4-61 which led the way in removing the visitors for 208, backed by two wickets apiece for Kemar Roach and Jamie Overton.

That left Surrey to make 55 and, with Hampshire having surprisingly lost to strugglers Kent, Burns and Patel knocked off the runs in six overs to launch protracted celebrations.

Having already captained his side to one title in 2018, Burns became only the fifth Surrey captain to add a second. He commented: “To win it again is very pleasing. Every time we’ve needed someone to step up, someone has put in a performance.”

Stewart – who is being tipped to become England’s next national selector – had to rebuild his coaching team during the winter when Vikram Solanki and Richard Johnson moved on to new posts. Promoting the just retired Gareth Batty plus recruiting Jim Troughton (batting) and Azhar Mahmood (bowling) – all on an interim basis – worked beautifully, coping impressively with the high turnover of players caused by multiple international calls.

“To keep a squad like that firing at a high level of skill and consistency is a very proud moment for the management staff,” said head coach Batty, who believed the constant presence of Burns – omitted by England – was key to success. He added: “Having Rory back at the helm consistently is gold. You can’t win anything without senior players.”

Stewart Snr was presented with a special key to the ground where he has spent so much of his life as player, captain, manager and later president. Asked what Surrey meant to him, his answer was simple.