Glamorgan's Simon Jones hails incredible support at Lord's
IT wasn't the champagne-soaked farewell he had dreamt of, but for Simon Jones a standing ovation in a Lord's final was a decent second.
Jones has enjoyed some memorable career highs, many in England colours at the same ground, and here at the Home of Cricket, in front of friends, family and fans from his home village of Dafen, was another.
After he had completed a typically whole-hearted eight-over spell of bowling that had contained all his trademark pace and aggression, Glamorgan and Nottinghamshire fans rose as one to show their appreciation.
And while Jones's two wickets weren't enough to prevent the Outlaws securing an 87-run triumph to make it three Lord's defeats out of three for the Welsh county, the 34-year-old admitted it was a moment he won't forget.
"That gave me the shivers," said Jones, who was playing his final match before turning his focus on the global Twenty20 extravaganza.
"To be appreciated like that by that amount of people is a special feeling for me and one I will never forget.
"The support we had out there was exceptional. I don't know what the Welsh rugby boys must be feeling when they play at the Millennium, it must be unbelievable. It was disappointing we couldn't bring the cup home for them, but it was a great feeling to be out there listening to them all singing."
Jones had a similar reception when he made his way to the crease during the last rites of Glamorgan's run chase.
Unfortunately, the green ribbons of Nottinghamshire were already being wrapped around the YB40 trophy.
Rank outsiders going into a match against a side bursting with international calibre and bolstered by the availability of England stars Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann, Glamorgan battled valiantly throughout.
They had opportunities to put the Outlaws under pressure at 94-4 when Gareth Rees spilled a difficult chance at mid-off when David Hussey was on three, and the Welsh fans were in fine voice when Chris Cooke and Jim Allenby were at the crease on 108-2 as Glamorgan looked to chase down a formidable 244.
But on both occasions, Notts' international calibre came to the fore with Hussey and Chris Read putting together a match-winning fifth-wicket partnership, while man-of-the-match Samit Patel produced the two deliveries of the match to break through the defences of Cooke and Allenby and signal Glamorgan's late-innings collapse.
Patel lit the touch-paper in the build-up, claiming that the Welsh county 'couldn't live' with his Notts side if they played to their potential.
His words ensured he came in for plenty of stick from the travelling Daffodil Army, but to his credit, it was his mid-innings spell of left-arm off-spin that turned the game on its head.
"It is tough to come to a big final and not be bringing a trophy home, but I thought we played some good cricket," added Jones.
"The biggest thing for me, and that is why I compared it with the Ashes, is that no-one would have given us a sniff at the start of the year.
"People look at Glamorgan and they normally give us a bit of a beating on TV, when they ask the guys who are commentating it is normally 5-0 to whoever we play.
"For us to get here and prove so many people wrong is a special feeling. I thought we played well, obviously not quite well enough, but Notts are a very good side and I think we have a bright future."
Jones's words were echoed by skipper Mark Wallace, who picked up the captaincy of the one-day side following Marcus North's return to Australia at the end of the group stages of the competition.
Wallace, like Jones, paid tribute to the thousands who had travelled across the Severn for the county's third visit to St John's Wood.
And while the lustre has been taken off the showpiece final in recent times with only half the ground full on a cloudy September day, the Welsh fans, many who had piled onto buses at 6am, certainly didn't go quietly.
"We had great support and the fact we could not reward them with a win is one of the main reasons we are so disappointed," said Wallace.
"When you do have those successful runs in Welsh sport, like the rugby and football teams, you can see the support is there.
"The backing we had at Lord's and the good luck messages we had coming into the match was overwhelming.
"I hope people had a good day regardless of the result and can see we are a team on the up and should be involved in more finals like this in the near future."
With young players like 20-year-old spinner Andrew Salter in the ranks, Wallace has every right to feel the county are moving in the right direction.
The Pembrokeshire product, who hails from the small village of St Ishmael's, has been playing club cricket for Ammanford for most of the summer, but took to Lord's like he had been playing in the company of messrs Broad and Swann for years.
It was he who made the initial breakthrough, taking a caught and bowled to dismiss the dangerous Michael Lumb and when Jones found the edge of James Taylor's bat to reduce the Outlaws to 90-4, Glamorgan were manoeuvring themselves into a position of strength.
But Hussey and his skipper Read swayed the pendulum back in the Midlanders' favour and even when they departed in quick succession, Steven Mullaney and Swann helped get their side up to a daunting total of 244-8, with 99 runs coming off the final 10 overs.
Glamorgan lost Wallace in the seventh ball of the reply and even though Rees attempted to make up for his earlier error with some aggressive hitting, he was bowled by a beauty from Ajmal Shahzad for 29.
Cooke, one of the leading run-scorers in the competition this season, and the semi-final man of the match Allenby offered hope, but Patel's intervention signalled the beginning of the end and Glamorgan lost their last eight wickets for just 49 runs.
It means Glamorgan remain the only county not to have won a one-day final at Lord's.
But it is clear they are determined it won't be 13 years before they grace these surroundings again.