Dominic Cork has never been someone to miss the chance to make a point and following Hampshire's final-ball victory against Somerset in the Friends Provident t20 final, where they claimed the title by losing fewer wickets, he said the performance would have proved the club's critics wrong.
The trophy was secured when Dan Christian, who had a runner after injuring his hamstring the ball before, scrambled a leg bye and Somerset didn't take the chance to run him out. Both Cork and Marcus Trescothick agreed they'd never seen a finish like it, but Cork believes his team deserved its triumph after battling a growing list of injuries.
Cork is only leading the side because of Dimitri Mascarenhas's long-term Achillies problem, while Nic Pothas, Kabir Ali and Michael Lumb are battling various serious injuries. Even Christian was sporting a pair of black eyes after being struck by a bouncer in the Championship match against Somerset a couple of days before.
"I've never seen a last over like that. It had everything - changes of ball, runners, wickets, the lot," Cork said. "It was a chaotic last two overs but I'm proud of all the guys here for taking us over that winning line. Maybe Christian could have been run out but the umpires declared it a match won and that's that.
"The young guys who've come in have transformed this side," he said. "We've been slaughtered throughout this campaign in some circles: why weren't we playing this person? Why weren't we playing that person?
"But with all the work that's been done bringing the young lads through the academy and then the Dad's Army we've got, we're able to put a team out that can play against the best and beat them."
Trescothick reflected on his team's near miss and the frantic scenes on the final ball where they didn't try to run out Christian who had left his crease despite having a runner. Somerset had looked out of the contest when Neil McKenzie and Sean Ervine were adding 79 for the fourth wicket, but they almost stole the game in the final two overs bowled by Ben Phillips and Zander de Bruyn.
"We had the game, but clearly just did not think at the end there," Trescothick said. "Christian had to be in his ground, so one of them is out of their crease. The umpires were waiting to see what we were going to do, but it ended up being a case where we were tied and they won due to less wickets."
Somerset's cause wasn't helped by a nasty injury to Kieron Pollard, who went to hospital after being struck on the right eye by a Cork bouncer in the final over of their innings. Pollard's eye immediately swelled shut and Cork was visibly shaken by the incident although he showed his professionalism to bowl a superb over.
"I wish him all the best because it's not a nice thing to happen," Cork said. "I went into their dressing room at the end and asked after him. It's a bit of a sickener. Nobody wants that to happen and I hope he gets back soon."