A half-century with the bat and a hat-trick with the ball from David Willey led Northamptonshire to 102-run victory over Surrey in the T20 final in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The Steelbacks had won just three of their past 22 Twenty20 matches before this season - and only one last year.
But following a dominant culmination to their surprise-packet campaign Captain Alex Wakely was lifting his county's first major silverware in 21 years.
Willey, 23, was the cornerstone of that success and, with a call-up to the England Lions' three one-day matches against Bangladesh A later this month, offered a timely reminder of his blossoming talent.
"He's been fantastic for us all season," Wakely said.
"He's got his Lions call-up next week. He has thoroughly deserved that so if he keeps performing like that who knows where he can get.
"It will surprise me if that guy's not playing for England, especially in white-ball cricket, within too long."
Willey was only promoted after Kyle Coetzer injured a wrist in the seven-wicket semi-final win over Essex, but it proved a blessing in disguise as he reached his 50 in just 19 balls, before eventually departing for 60 off 27.
"He has done it for us before - it wasn't a shock," Wakely added.
"That's our detail we've got. If one of our openers went down Dave knew he would step in anyway.
"He's done it for us in the Pro40s as well - and he's shown he can be a quality all-rounder. That was his first 50 I think - and to score the fastest in the tournament shows the calibre he's in."
Willey's heavy hitting was followed by Wakely (59) and Cameron White (54), who combined in an unbeaten 107-run stand from 57 balls, on a night Surrey's bowlers would rather forget.
Jade Dernbach was chief among those as the England right-armer's four overs cost 55 - the second most expensive figures on finals day.
Surrey never threatened to run down the 194 for two, from a rain-reduced 18 overs, as Willey then also made his mark in the field.
The right-armer took four for nine before sealing **Northamptonshire's first title since they won the NatWest Trophy in 1992 with his hat-trick.
It sparked sweet celebrations for the Steelbacks and Wakely admitted a winter of soul-searching was starting to bear fruit for a club also well-placed for promotion in the LV= County Championship.
"We were at rock bottom last year," he said.
"We almost started from scratch. We had a heart-to-heart at the end of last year; a lot of people were disappointed with the way we were playing our cricket.
"We sat down; we worked hard and we're reaping the rewards this year.
"If you'd have told me we'd win finals day I wouldn't have believed you to be honest.
"To actually get to finals day and to win something as a club is just an unbelievable feeling."
Surrey captain Vikram Solanki was left to admit his side had simply been outplayed after they crashed to 92 all out from 13.3 overs.
"They were too good," he said.
"For them to come out in the manner they did and bat in that fashion against a very good attack that has been consistently good throughout our campaign is quite outstanding.
"Then, having posted the total they did, it was always going to be difficult for us."
The veteran also praised Willey's performance, admitting he could hardly think of a better one-man performance.
"He's a good all-rounder isn't he," he said.
"He strikes the ball cleanly and then it was just his day to finish with a hat-trick.
"I'm pleased for him obviously, while being disappointed at coming second. One man can win you a game. It's that sort of game."