By Martin Gough
BBC Sport at Edgbaston
The Twenty20 script surely did not read like this - a county considered one of the
least fashionable carrying off the hippest trophy in county cricket.
Defending champions Surrey may have lost some of their lustre in other
competitions this season but in the shortest form of the game they were
still unbeaten - until 10pm on Saturday.
Leicestershire sprung a massive upset at Edgbaston
Instead it was Leicestershire, a side many have argued should be dropped
from the county circuit, who showered themselves in champagne.
But to stick to sweeping generalisations is to do a disservice to the Foxes,
who have reinvented themselves both on and off the field in the last two
The team has been revolutionised, with Australian Brad Hodge leading from
the front but also after some key acquisitions.
Controversially, they were the first to take advantage of European Union
employment law to sneak South African spinner Claude Henderson and West
Indian seamer Ottis Gibson past the overseas player quotas.
Eighteen months ago, England one-day all-rounder Jeremy Snape moved from
Gloucestershire, where he played a hand in winning a glut of one-day
"They were at a similar stage to Gloucester when I joined - an unfashionable
county looking to rebuild a team," Snape said.
"Leicestershire has made the headlines for the wrong reasons in the last few
"But they've started recruiting quite wisely, we've got some experienced
senior professionals and some talented youngsters, which will hopefully bode
well for the future."
Those headlines included a court case with two former players suing for
wrongful dismissal, with the organisation of the club coming under fire for
That is not an accusation that could be levelled at the current set-up.
The old committee structure was swept away and members became simply season
ticket holders in a model more similar to football, allowing management to make key decisions unhindered.
One of the biggest surprises of this year's tournament was the crowd of
5,500 that packed sleepy Grace Road for the Foxes' group matches.
Hodge, already a heavy-run-scorer, added the vital missing piece when he
assumed the captaincy from Phil DeFreitas after the first Twenty20 match.
"He's given us a concentration on the basics and a self-belief which we were
lacking before," Snape said of his new skipper.
"There's no flash players in our side and by doing the basics very well,
being well-drilled and training very hard we've lifted a trophy."
Hodges describes the focus of the Australian approach as: "The little
things, the one-percenters."
But the new broom has not swept the whole of the team away with it.
Vital to this campaign has been Darren Maddy, who has reinvented himself as
a one-day all-rounder since struggling as an England Test batsman.
In the semi-final victory over Glamorgan Maddy hit 72 from 40 balls, leaving
opposing captain Robert Croft to say in despair: "He's really cooking on
Nicknamed "Fire Starter" by team-mates, he also claimed a key wicket with his medium-pace
and was responsible for the brilliant run out of Aussie Matthew Elliot with
a throw from cover.
"We've [always] banked on one player playing well," said Hodge. "This year
Maddy has done it and it has really set the tone, especially at the top of
Twenty20 success, and Hodge's new reign, has seen the side challenging for
promotion in both the Championship and the Totesport League.
"The last few weeks we've been playing some really good cricket - four-day
one-day and Twenty20," Hodge added.
"We came in as underdogs but history shows we made the semi-final last year
and put up a good show.
"This year we've been clearly the best side in our division, [won the]
quarter-final, the semi-final and now the final."
Leicestershire may not be the most glittering county but there was no
denying the sparkle of their Cup-winners medals.