Alex Gidman says Worcestershire Rapids have “done themselves proud” after coming so close to retaining their Vitality Blast title.

The Rapids were within a whisker of becoming the first side to win the T20 tournament two years running with Essex edging home from the final delivery by four wickets.

Captain Moeen Ali and the other Rapids players fought tooth and nail to defend a total of 145-9 on a turning pitch.

First Team Coach Gidman said: “I’ve got mixed emotions. Gutted for the lads. They put in such a shift today and in the whole competition. So close to doing what we wanted to do, and wanted to achieve.

“They worked so hard, tried so hard, and you just feel desperately sorry for them.

“It came down to one ball. It’s tough for them now. They are just gutted but they’ve done themselves really proud.

“We just simply lost a really good game of cricket. No-one has let the side down, no-one has had a poor game. It’s just a great game of cricket and we came out just second best.

“Credit to Essex and Ravi (Bopara) in particular. It was an outstanding innings. It was a great game and unfortunately we were on the other side of it tonight.”

Gidman added: “Was 145 enough? I certainly thought it was going to be competitive, which it was. You always think if we could have got another five-ten runs from somewhere, and so could have Essex.

“It’s one of those. I’m really proud of how we constructed that score because it wasn’t easy. It was tough and so it would have been easy to have panicked and ended up 10-15 runs less than what we actually got.

“It was an outstanding effort with the ball and it’s literally come down to one ball. It’s two very competitive sides going head to head and Essex just came out on top.

“Simon Harmer bowled very well. It was seriously turning and was tough but both sides adapted and showed a skill set they needed for the occasion.

“In a weird way it’s good you have to learn and adapt and play in different conditions. The majority of (T20) games these days are flat belters with short boundaries.

“That was a different skill set that was needed and, although we lost, to show that skill set was very good from our lads and Essex as well.

“I’m just genuinely very proud of the campaign. We know it’s been a tough red ball campaign but no-one can deny the fact our white ball cricket has been outstanding this year.

“We were a couple of wins away in the 50 over competition and one ball away in this. In two out of three competitions we’ve done really well in.

“We will wake up tomorrow disappointed but we will be proud of what we’ve done.”