Hertfordshire claimed their first National Counties silverware in 29 years with a crushing nine wickets win over Dorset in the final at Wormsley.
Having beaten Buckinghamshire by 12 runs in their semi-final, Hertfordshire were back in the field within half an hour, but they produced another miserly bowling display followed by some punishing batting to claim their first trophy since they won the National Counties Championship in 1990.
Dorset managed only five boundaries - all fours - against an accurate attack and sharp fielding although a pitch that had lost some of its early pace also stifled strokeplay.
Off-spinner Ben Frazer (three for 23) and slow left-armers Ravi Patel and Ben Waring took four for 41 between them and it was left to Hampshire prospect Felix Organ to hold Dorset together by batting through the innings for a patient 48 not out, which included only one boundary.
Dorset’s total never looked likely to trouble Hertfordshire’s strong top order and the result became a formality after opener Harry Ellison pummelled a 28-ball half century which included seven fours and two sixes.
Max Waller ended Ellison’s opening partnership with Steve Gale when he ran out Gale but that was the Somerset leg-spinner’s only success on the day.
Waller played a key role in Somerset’s Vitality Blast victory over Glamorgan at Taunton the evening before and showed his commitment to Dorset’s cause by then getting in his car and arriving at the team hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning.
But Waller’s efforts went unrewarded as he went wicketless in Dorset’s two matches and managed just a single from three balls in his two innings on Finals Day.
Dorset eased to their target with more than seven overs to spare with Essex youngster Rishi Patel striking Hampshire prospect Scott Currie for successive sixes to start the celebrations.
“It’s been a long time coming but we have built up a team for the last ten years of good young cricketers who play hard cricket so it’s about time we have some reward for that hard work,” said Hertfordshire captain Reece Hussain, nephew of former England captain Nasser..
“Ninety per cent of the team are Hertfordshire lads through and through and they have been fantastic this season.
“The wins have been very convincing, we didn’t just scrape through. It’s been a great season.
“In Luke Chapman and Ben Waring we have two of the best spinners on the Minor Counties circuit. They are a great bunch to captain. Win or lose we have a lot of fun.
“Iain Fletcher, our team manager, has been amazing. This is part of what he has built. It has been his philosophy, he doesn’t stand for us being soft. He likes us to play hard cricket and it’s nice to reward his hard work as well.”
In the semi-finals Dorset’s four-strong spin attack throttled Lincolnshire’s powerful batting line-up which included former county players Usman Arshad, Shiv Thakor and Azeem Rafiq.
Dorset fell away after Organ launched their innings with a fluent 40. From 66 for one they subsided to 138 all out but that still proved too many for Lincolnshire.
Kimber, Joe Kendall and skipper Carl Wilson all got starts but were dismissed forcing the pace with former Leicestershire off-spinner Jigar Naik finishing with three for 34.
Northamptonshire batsman Saif Zaib made the highest score of the day - 86 - but it was still not enough to bring Buckinghamshire victory in the second semi-final.
Hussain laid the foundations for his side’s 180 for eight with the last three wickets falling for one run.
Zaib, who took three for 38 with his left-arm spin appeared to be taking Buckinghamshire to victory when he reached his half century from 24 balls.
But the innings lost momentum after Zaib became the first of three victims for Tanveer Sikander as four wickets went down for 14.
National Counties T20 Finals Day
Dorset 138 (Louis Kimber 4-26), Lincolnshire 127-8. Dorset won by 11 runs.
Hertfordshire 180-8 (Reece Hussain 67), Buckinghamshire 168-8 (Saif Zaib 86). Hertfordshire won by 12 runs.
Final: Dorset 104-9 (Felix Organ 48 not out), Hertfordshire 109-1(Harry Ellison 62 not out). Hertfordshire won by nine wickets.