Warwickshire 429 (Chopra 160, Trott 104, Rushworth 6-100) beat Durham 201 (Pringle 63*, Barker 5-59) and 215 (Muchall 52) by an innings and 13 runs

It was entirely typical that Jeetan Patel should play a key part with bat and ball as Warwickshire wrapped up their season with an innings victory which emphasised their worth as runners up to the Division One champions Yorkshire.

Patel has only taken one five-wicket haul in this Championship campaign, but his contribution has been immense. On flat pitches or those offering assistance, whether his side have needed him to attack or defend, Patel has produced some of the finest cricket of his career and is, at the time of writing, the only man in the land to take 100 wickets in all competitions this season.

When he first joined the club, in 2009, he appeared a modest signing. With a first-class bowling average in the 40s and a reputation for timidity with the bat, he appeared reflective of the paucity of options available among modern overseas players.

Yet he has proved to be an inspired recruitment. He has now taken 185 first-class wickets for the club at an average of 27.12, as well as contributing two centuries and nine half-centuries in typically aggressive fashion. A first-class batting average of 28.85 for the club reflects the work he has put in and the success he has had.

Here, with an unbeaten 45 and three more wickets, he helped polish off a Durham side that, only a year ago, were lifting the Championship trophy. Gaining sharp spin and, at times, bounce, he found the outside edge of the left-handers - Scott Borthwick and Mark Stoneman, both of whom can look back on seasons in which they have scored 1,000 runs - and then produced a fast arm-ball to account for the dangerous Mark Wood. It is hard to think of a more valuable overseas player this season.

It might also reflect well on the Warwickshire dressing room. They have been able to coax the best cricket of Patel's career from him: far better than some of the cricket he has played for New Zealand where, with Daniel Vettori around, Patel was never more than a couple of games from being dropped.

But it is not just Patel who has flourished at Edgbaston. Jonathan Trott and Boyd Rankin returned to the club broken from their England experiences and, in a benevolent yet demanding environment, have rediscovered the simple joys of this great game. Rikki Clarke, who arrived with a mixed reputation, has played the most consistent cricket of his career for the club and Varun Chopra has developed into one of the best signings the club have made in the last 20 years.

Keith Barker, too, weighed in with another three wickets. It takes his tally against Durham to 40 in eight games at an average of just 13.37. He has a century against them, too.

Warwickshire may have some distance to travel before they can challenge Yorkshire for the title but, with two locally developed men in the England team, a trophy in the cabinet and two more top-two finishes, this can only be judged an excellent season.

Jon Lewis was approached by the Sri Lankan cricket board with a view to the role of head coach and was subsequently down to the final two before they appointed Marvan Attapattu.

The season might also be considered something of a triumph for Durham. Over the course of 24 months, the club have cut their cricket budget from something around £1.9m per year to something around £850,000 per year. In other words, they have gone from the biggest spenders in the domestic game to among the smallest. They have also had to cope with England call-ups and injuries and still there will be pressure to cut the budget further. To win a trophy and finish in mid-table of Division One with such pressures is a fine achievement.

Furthermore, they have done it with 'home grown' players. Nine of the XI that played in the Lord's final and the XI that played in this game can be so described (seven were born in the north-east, but two others were born in South Africa but graduated through the club's academy), with those shared experiences and values no doubt contributing to the strong team spirit that has seen them through the tougher times. They have, in short, made a virtue of necessity and remain, in many ways, an example to far richer clubs.

It should, therefore, be no surprise that international teams have come calling for Jon Lewis. ESPNcricinfo understands that he was approached by the Sri Lankan cricket board with a view to the role of head coach and was subsequently down to the final two before they appointed Marvan Attapattu.

While the news may provoke some disquiet among Durham supporters, it is an inevitable reflection of the success the club has enjoyed. Lewis, who was told by the club not to comment upon the matter when approached by ESPNcricinfo, cannot be criticised for his ambitions or, perhaps, for his exasperation at his dwindling resources. He continues to do a fine job in testing circumstances and it is hardly surprising that his work has been noticed by rivals and beyond.

Supporters may also be concerned by the news that Graham Onions will undergo another back operation in November. While it is understood the surgery is not as serious as previously, it still raises question marks over his future.

Still, Paul Collingwood, the captain who describes 2014 as "one of the best seasons I've had" (it was the first time since 2007 that he has averaged more than 40 in first-class cricket), was in general times delighted with the season.

"Any season in which you win a trophy is special," Collingwood said. "We have won five trophies in seven years and we have provided opportunities for the next generation.

"We're really proud of how we've responded to the challenges. With the squad size we've had, we have asked a lot of the players and they have kept going incredibly well.

"I think we sometimes take for granted how good our dressing room is. But it is great to see guys like Chase and Coughlin and come into the environment and feel comfortable."

Collingwood is now expected to spend 10 days coaching the UAE team and hopes to be involved with Scotland's World Cup coaching. England have not been in contact since Ashley Giles was sacked as limited-overs coach.

"I wish I'd got into coaching earlier," Collingwood said. "It's definitely made me a better player. You take ideas from here and there and see how other people do things. But yes, I am enjoying the challenge of playing and I am happy to carry on for another year."

Durham are lucky to have him and Lewis. The signing of John Hastings for next year will help, too. But while the players' dedication - Ben Stokes bowled throughout a session a short while ago- masks some of the problems in the background, it will not be able to do so indefinitely.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo