One of the things that I really enjoyed last night, in the post-match glow of a Derbyshire triumph, was an excellent collection of photographs by David Griffin, which appositely recorded the evening and the end of a group stage that offered varied but ultimately successful cricket.
There was a pumped-up Hardus Viljoen, screaming to the heavens, having beaten Brett D'Oliveira for pace and rearranged his stumps. Then a montage of Imran Tahir, celebrating his wickets with the enthusiasm of a teenager and becoming the highest wicket-taker in a T20 season by a Derbyshire bowler. Tahir again, leading the team off at the end, smiles as wide as the Mississippi on all of them. Then John Wright and Kim Barnett, smiling and doubtless acknowledging a job well done, one fashioned in the depths of a cold Derbyshire winter.
It was a magical evening and will be a similar weekend for Derbyshire fans. Some will not have known such a feeling, being new to supporting a county better known for its lows than highs. Others have supported them longer, but can still count such nights as out of the ordinary. I regard myself as lucky to have followed the club through fifty summers that, relatively speaking, count as our golden years. We've won trophies in that period and many supporters prior to that watched us play for decades without doing so.
It is easy to dismiss the 'hired hands' as simply that, but the excitement, passion and commitment shown by Hardus Viljoen, Imran Tahir and Daryn Smit couldn't have been greater had they just won a trophy with their native South Africa. They were up for a battle and, in the pressure cooker environment in which you hope they would stand their ground, they delivered.
So too did the younger players. For the likes of Matt Critchley, Alex Hughes, Ben Cotton and Callum Brodrick, this was a taste of a big occasion that they will want to repeat. For Wayne Madsen, who has been stellar in this season's competition, it was vindication for staying with the county that gave him opportunity, when many others would have moved elsewhere. Coming in his testimonial year, the timing is perfect, just as his has been with the bat. Having scored 500 runs, taken key wickets and bowled economically, as well as holding at times blinding catches, this was his, as much as Derbyshire's triumph.
Yet the job is not yet done and we must not look at this as the summit of our ambitions. Our quarter-final opponents are Hampshire, a side with talented players but now missing South African Rilee Rossouw for the summer after hand surgery.
Their key man is captain and opening bat James Vince, a batsman of class and poise who can quickly take a game away from you, while former Australian one-day skipper George Bailey has struggled this summer but is a big occasion player. South African Kyle Abbott leads the attack, which also features our one-time overseas player, Shahid Afridi.
It will be a terrific game and with Afridi and Mason Crane on their side, as well as Liam Dawson, their will be spinners a-plenty on view. Hampshire will be dangerous opponents and some of their supporters last night were crowing on Twitter about the 'plum draw' that they had secured after being thrashed by Somerset in their final game.
For all that our players have attracted criticism - rightly so, at the time - there will be the more discerning among their supporters who will see this as a banana skin. They will see a Derbyshire side that bats deep and offers plenty of bowling options. One that has three international bowlers in the attack and has already beaten Yorkshire twice and the reigning champions, as well as taking the tournament favourites, Nottinghamshire, very close twice. A side that came second in a strong group to one that has far greater resources.
When the big games come, the big names thrive. They are star men for a reason, to get you to big occasions and to deliver when you get there. After fourteen matches that offered more ups and downs than a theme park, Tuesday will be a night to savour. There will be finger nails chewed, balls watched through fingers and digits crossed. We need eleven men to step up to the mark and say 'we can do this' and show the cricketing world just that.
We made it and plenty of so-called bigger teams didn't. With Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire in the quarter-finals, the East Midlands is the power base of T20 in the north of England. Ironic, when the chances of two of those sides hosting an eleven in the ill-fated city-based competition are slightly lower than the chance of me being seen as the new Usain Bolt.
With Lancashire and Yorkshire out, together with Middlesex and Glamorgan and Somerset joining the Foxes and us in the knock out stage, it's not been a good competition for those who want to marginalise the smaller counties, has it?
Be proud folks.
Because our team has done us proud and may yet do even more.