It had scarcely promised to be a showpiece. It was a match between the county that couldn't win finals and the county that couldn't pay its bills. And it was played on a pitch that had seemed as dead as the Sogdian language. And yet, in the precise moment of victory as Lancastrian roars echoed in the still Birmingham air, none of those things mattered a damn.

Instead, as tiny knots of overjoyed red-shirted cricketers joined in the tightest of hugs, they revelled in the exultation of the moment. This was the special euphoria for which Lancashire's players had worked since they had gathered for pre-season training last December. Then they went over and shared it with their many supporters in the Raglan Stand. Then they danced about on the field in the licensed irresponsibility of complete happiness. There were curious echoes of Taunton in 2011, when Lancashire won the County Championship outright for the first time since 1934. It was that special for them.

There were only two survivors of that team in the 11 that eventually overcame Northants' brave resistance here. Cricketers like Gavin Griffiths and Liam Livingstone are nothing like regular first-team cricketers. Now they have done something that will stay with them until playing cricket is itself a memory. It didn't matter two hoots that qualifying for the quarter-finals had depended on it hosing down at Grace Road back in July. Maybe it's better that way.

Only when Lancashire's players and supporters reflected on what they had done did the contexts of triumph begin to count. Their joy at Edgbaston was all the greater because they had suffered disappointment here so frequently. They are no strangers to the whips and scorns of time.

"Clearer than Scafell Pike, my heart has stamped on / The view from Birmingham to Wolverhampton," wrote WH Auden in "Letter to Lord Byron" and a few Lancashire fans may smile in grim identification with the lines. For this was their side's fifth Finals Day at Edgbaston and their second final in England's second city.

In 2007, Lancashire's side included Andrew Flintoff, Stuart Law, Brad Hodge and Muttiah Muralitharan; they lost to Gloucestershire in the morning semi. Supporters have dutifully booked their hotels and travelled down the M6 on Friday evening or Saturday morning scarcely able to voice their hopes, only to return on Sunday - or even Saturday afternoon in the really bad years - cloaked in the silent gloom of defeat. It won't be like that tomorrow.

"There were happy Sundays at Old Trafford long before the Happy Mondays were a gleam in Shaun Ryder's eye"

And maybe it was appropriate that the best entertainment of the day was saved until the final game. Twenty-over cricket is ideally suited to the evening and, indeed, was been played from May to early August in local tournaments across England long, long before white balls and floodlights were features of the game.

The uninhibited batting of Jos Buttler and David Willey, the canny spin bowling of Shahid Afridi and Arron Lilley are all in their way very distant descendants of the skills learned by these players' amateur counterparts. The Big Bash, the IPL, the NatWest Blast are multi-million dollar operations which have revolutionised the techniques of T20 cricket. And yet they are also highly professional echoes of very enjoyable games played in Gloucestershire, Cumberland, Merseyside and elsewhere. It was just that the latter didn't have duck quacks and trumpets.

And it might be worth remembering that if Stephen Parry and Griffiths had not been playing for Lancashire today, they would have been turning out for their clubs, Formby and Ormskirk. Brook Lane is where Griffiths often bowls his seamers. Ormskirk's pavilion will be rocking tonight, as will more than a few Birmingham hotels.

"It was a big call to give Gavin his debut and there was a bit of head scratching this morning but he's had a good week in practice and we had every faith in him," Steven Croft, Lancashire's captain, said. "He's good under pressure and he's a good death bowler as well." Griffiths was five when Lancashire last won a one-day trophy.

If anything, Red Rose heritage made things worse. In the 30 seasons from 1970 to 1999, Lancashire won 16 limited-over trophies. Lord's became a second home. The county dominated the old 40-over league. There were happy Sundays at Old Trafford long before the Happy Mondays were a gleam in Shaun Ryder's eye. Since 1999, though, there had been diddly-squat one-day trophies, apart, perhaps, from the unwanted, unofficial title of champion chokers. Well, not any more, the roars from the Raglan Stand seemed to say as Griffiths bowled that final over. Not any more.

It was good to see Northants get so near to winning the trophy, too. This after all, is the county some would exclude from such grand entertainments. Few people of sound mind talk about basing a franchise in Wantage Road, yet no ground possesses a livelier atmosphere on a T20 Friday evening. And here Alex Wakely's boys were and it was rather pleasing to see the noses of the moneyed mighty so fiercely tweaked. They pushed Croft's bowlers and fielders almost to the limit. But this, at last, was Lancashire's year. And, you know, maybe they had waited long enough.