Essex captain Mark Pettini and Danish Kaneria soak up the win
Essex captured the FP Trophy with a five-wicket win over Kent at Lord's.
Kent opted to bat but lost both openers within six overs, and despite Martin van Jaarsveld's battling 58 they were struggling at 138-7 in the 37th over.
Ryan McLaren hit 63, sharing 66 with Yasir Arafat to take them to 214, but Essex were coasting at 60-1 in reply.
Robbie Joseph ousted Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook in consecutive overs, but veteran Grant Flower hit an unbeaten 70 to seal victory with seven balls left.
Defending such a modest total, Kent needed something special with the ball.
They packed the slip cordon in a quest for wickets but the early bowling lacked penetration or discipline.
After 15 overs both sides had lost two wickets but Essex had 20 more runs in the bank.
Flower played an assured innings when the pressure was beginning to build
The introduction of Joseph changed the pattern of the match, with Bopara making a rather static seven, although replays suggested his lbw may have been heading over the top.
Cook began with a series of high-class strokes, but seemed to lose his way and on 33 he succumbed in tame fashion by cutting straight to point.
Kent were right back in the match with the total on 93-4, and a cool hand was needed from the Essex side.
It came from 37-year-old Zimbabwean Flower, who scored six Test centuries in 67 matches, and he got off the mark with a classical drive.
He put on a vital 68 with James Foster, before establishing the winning partnership with Ryan ten Doeschate.
In the 44th over, Ten Doeschate was dropped by Darren Stevens at fine-leg with 32 needed. And that moment proved to be Kent's last hope, as they lost another final following their last-gasp reverse against Middlesex in the Twenty20 Cup in July.
The Kent openers were quickly dismissed by Essex's new ball pair
Key had been happy to bat first, but there was a green tinge to the surface and the skipper might soon have been regretting his decision.
The Essex new ball combination of David Masters and Graham Napier caused all manner of problems.
Masters moved the ball both ways with excellent accuracy, bowling his 10 overs all the way through and over-pitching only once, in his final over.
Napier, renowned for his explosive batting, sent several deliveries over 90mph and also bowled an impressive line.
Denly attempted to ignite the innings by stepping down the wicket, but after two fours in the third over, wicketkeeper Foster countered by coming up to the stumps, and it quickly brought success for Essex.
The first wicket fell in the fifth over, Key adjudged caught at the wicket by the alert Foster, although replays suggested no contact with the bat had been made.
Denly followed in the next over, bowled through the gate as Napier nipped one back.
Justin Kemp began to revive the innings, but having struck two fours in quick succession he tried to force off the back foot and an inside edge led to the collapse of the off-stump.
The cavalier shots continued, however, Stevens flashing wildly before he scored and edging change bowler Chris Wright, the one bowler who did not settle into his rhythm and might have been targeted.
Geraint Jones dispatched a couple of short balls stylishly to the boundary but he was deceived by a top-spinner in Danish Kaneria's second over.
The Pakistan leg-spinner then added the key scalp of dangerman Azhar Mahmood, whose reckless swipe was comfortably caught at long-off.
Van Jaarsveld, who survived an extremely close lbw appeal on nought, battled for his third fifty of the competition, in addition to his four centuries, taking his run total to 660 for the campaign, with an average of 110.
He departed in the 37th over to a brilliant catch by Cook, running back from mid-on to pouch the top-edge to make it 138-7.
In the 2006 final Arafat made a valiant 37 to help Sussex to muster 172, which they then successfully defended.
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