Warwickshire's Cheltenham and Gloucester campaign ended in agony as Warwickshire succumbed to an 18-run loss to Hampshire at Lord's.
A stand of 122 between Nick Knight and Ian Bell appeared to have put Warwickshire on course for victory but both Knight and Ian Bell suffered attacks of cramp to stymie their chase and Warwickshire's middle-order were unable to progress against some fine bowling.
"At one point, we were going really well," Knight said. "Obviously, Ian Bell's cramp didn't help and we lost our way.
"Ian's a young guy who has never had an attack like that before. He's very fit. It was just one of those things. Maybe he should have gone off, but these attacks take hours to shake off and, had he gone, he wouldn't have come back.
"We thought he might as well try to hit it into the stands a couple of times.
"To be honest, I was cramping up myself. I did everything humanely possible to get the side home. It's just a shame I ran out of energy and couldn't hit the ball over the boundary.
"We just couldn't get a partnership together. The new guys coming in found it hard to and the run-rate kept going up. We weren't at our sharpest in the field, either. We let a few runs through our legs and there were a lot of extras."
Knight refused to be drawn on the issue of the ball. Warwickshire requested that the umpires swap the white ball after around 35 overs of the Warwickshire innings as it had become much darker and softer.
"I'm not making any excuses," he said. "I did ask for the ball to be changed because it was hard to see but the umpires didn't change it when Hampshire were batting and they didn't change it for us, either. I don't want to make a big deal of it."
Neil Carter was less reticent on the issue, however.
"I understand that the umpires didn't change it for Hampshire either, but each ball is different," he said.
"The one we bowled with stayed hard and was still white. The one we batted with was soft and dark green. It was hard to see it and even if you did, you couldn't hit it to the boundary because it was too soft. The umpires should have changed it."
Carter's disappointment took much off the gloss of his own fine performance.
He took five wickets, the first bowler to take five wickets in a domestic Lord's final since Matthew Hoggard in 2002, and ensured a swift start to Warwickshire's innings.
It was all to no avail, however, leaving Carter as dejected as his colleagues.
"It's not often in a one-day game that a guy scores a hundred, one of his team-mates takes five wickets and they still finish on the losing side," he said ruefully. "This is a bitter pill to swallow," Jonathan Trott agreed. "I wouldn't wish this feeling on anyone. Losing a game like this really hurts.
"'Knighty' played really well and we seemed to be cruising but pressure takes wickets and they bowled really well. It wasn't easy out there with the ball, but they didn't change it for them, either. We just didn't hit enough boundaries."
"We were winning that match for 30 overs," Trevor Penney said.
"The ball was a lot darker and softer when we were batting and it was really difficult out there.
"We've got really good strokemakers in our side and none of them could get going. We're disappointed but even more so for Nick [Knight].
"He played ever so well and he really didn't deserve to finish on the losing side. He really is very down. We just needed one guy to stay with him."
The 37-year-old Penney is out of contract in a few weeks and has yet to be told whether he will win another deal. He surely has a future in coaching but his enthusiasm for playing also remains undimmed.
"I'd love to be back," he said. "I've played eight finals and won four and lost four. I'd love to carry on as a player."
Makhaya Ntini also hopes to return to Lord's as a Warwickshire player.
"We bowled well," he said. "The ball beat the bat but things didn't go our way. That's cricket. Losing is hard to take but it's part of the game.
"I've enjoyed it with Warwickshire and the atmosphere today was great. The supporters have been brilliant; they've welcomed me. If they [the South African cricket board] let me, I'll be back for the team. I want to return."
Within the space of a few days Hampshire have ended Warwickshire's dreams of success in the Championship and Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy. Inevitably the team are desperately disappointed.
Yet there is still some important cricket to be played and Warwickshire must pull themselves together quickly. Today they travel to Taunton to take on much-improved Somerset in Division Two of the totesport League.
Warwickshire require victory to keep their promotion bid on track and to keep their season from degenerating from potential triumph to bitter disappointment within the space of a week.