At the fourth time of asking, a tearful Charlotte Edwards has at last won a World Cup by leading England to their third overall title following a very successful year. And this might be the most important victory yet, with the triumph sending a message to the other boards that backing the women financially helps.

"Now looking back on my sleepless nights there was an expectation for us to do well this tournament," said Edwards after the match. "There has been a huge amount of money pumped in to develop our girls. We knew we were up against a really good team today. We've repaid a lot of people that have shown a lot of faith in the girls."

The maternal Edwards' brand of leadership is full of tough love and it has paid off handsomely, with her charges playing consistent - if not quite perfect - cricket, and wanting to do well for their captain and themselves.

"Unbelievable, really," said Edwards of the win, although she might be the only one to think so. England's victory has not come as a surprise. They always had the potential to win the trophy and, ominously, they do not feel they played their best cricket despite lifting the $35,000 trophy. "We've not played a perfect game of cricket in the tournament and there are a few areas we need to work on."

This is certainly true, but they were still the best side in the tournament and just winners. England will now regroup with several warm-up matches before the World Twenty20 at home.

"I suppose it won't sink in for a couple of days," Edwards concluded. "It's an amazing feeling and a day I will cherish for the rest of my life. I'm loving cricket, it's my life."

A disconsolate Haidee Tiffen admitted that England had outplayed them, but still thought her side "had a sniff." Tiffen was appearing in her second World Cup final, but had to experience the pain of losing for the first time. "It was just another day for us at the office," said Tiffen. "Unfortunately it was a bad day for us, but I can't take anything away from England."

And she can hold her head up high. Like Edwards, she has been a positive influence on her team who fully deserved their place in the final. They just could not do it on the day as the pressure told.

England showed nerves too, but rose to the occasion just when it mattered. Their victory is not just one for themselves. As bizarre as it sounds, it could ultimately be a win for New Zealand, too, if their board can take note of how England won the final and what resources they could use in the future.

That will be of little comfort to New Zealand right now as their players come to terms with the loss, but England have proven how to win the World Cup and just what a little faith can do.