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Middlesex are in the pink!

PUBLISHED: 13:12 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 24 August 2010

SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 26:  Middlesex celebrate victory with the trophy after winning the Twenty20 Cup Final between Kent and Middlesex at The Rosebowl on July 26, 2008 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 26: Middlesex celebrate victory with the trophy after winning the Twenty20 Cup Final between Kent and Middlesex at The Rosebowl on July 26, 2008 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

By Ben Pearce MIDDLESEX S stand-in captain Ed Joyce admits he is relieved that the team have picked up their first trophy in 15 years after Saturday s spectacular Twenty20 Cup triumph. Club captain Ed Smith has been sidelined with an ankle injury since

By Ben Pearce

MIDDLESEX'S stand-in captain Ed Joyce admits he is 'relieved' that the team have picked up their first trophy in 15 years after Saturday's spectacular Twenty20 Cup triumph.

Club captain Ed Smith has been sidelined with an ankle injury since June 12, but Joyce has revelled in his role and was rewarded by lifting the trophy at the Rose Bowl.

"This is definitely the highlight of my Middlesex career by a long way, but obviously 100 against the Aussies was probably number one," he said.

"But the feeling and the relief of actually winning a trophy for Middlesex and obviously being the one who lifts them the trophy is definitely number one for Middlesex and overall probably number two."

Joyce had more reasons than most of his players to celebrate when Justin Kemp failed to connect with Tyron Henderson's final ball, because he had dropped Kent's danger man in the 15th over and seen him pile on the runs in the thrilling final minutes.

"Once I had dropped that I thought this is going to be one of those ones where I've dropped the catch to lose the game for Middlesex in their first final in so long," he admitted.

"So those kind of things go through your head. You're kicking yourself for a while because someone like Kemp punishes you for those things.

"Fielding down there it's right behind the lights. I'd only just gone down there and was straight into it so I tried to keep my eye on the ball but there was just no chance."

After a difficult start to the season there were widespread reports of unrest both within the Middlesex camp and amongst their supporters, but Joyce is confident that the long-awaited title will bring the club together.

"We haven't won something for a long time and the fans deserve it more than anything, we got a good turn-out here," he said.

"There was unrest at the start of the year and probably rightly so, we started the season pretty poorly, again, and they probably were within their rights.

"Funnily enough we started to play well straight away afterwards, I don't think that had anything to do with it, it was a bit of coincidence but for them it was important.

"Obviously there was a bit of unrest and there are guys out of contract but I think that's just coincidence more than anything else so hopefully everything will get sorted out and we can win more trophies.

"I don't think anyone will want to leave the county. I've been a Middlesex player since I came over so it would have to be a seriously good reason to ever leave the county that you feel a part of. I can't really see it."

In the midst of Middlesex's euphoria it was easy to forget how close they had been to defeat, but Kent skipper Rob Key was full of admiration for his conquerors and commended their brave approach to the finals day.

"They made it hard, I tried everything at Owais Shah and Tyron Henderson and what a nightmare it is trying to set a field for that bloke, just slogging every single ball," he said.

"They got the better of our bowlers really and credit to them for the way they play. We should have known really but it was [Henderson's] day today, he played brilliantly in the semi-final and I thought Ed Joyce as well captained the side brilliantly.

"To take a punt, send Hendo in early, the way he marshalled his bowlers there towards the end, when someone's smacking you around in Twenty20 it's very tough captaining the side and I thought Ed Joyce did brilliantly, he kept his nerve very well.


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