Bright future for Lancashire - Chapple
Glen Chapple, the limping Lancashire captain, sees a bright future for the county after they ended a 77-year wait for the County Championship title. Victory against Somerset, and Warwickshire's failure to beat Hampshire, brought the season to a dramatic finish for a team that had been tipped to fight against relegation.
Most of the team are born and bred in either Lancashire or the nearby areas and the county have made best use of the talent available having realised they wouldn't be able to invest in personnel. Chapple now believes the likes of Karl Brown, Tom Smith, Simon Kerrigan and Luke Procter - not yet household names - can form the core of a successful side for years to come.
"We are basically a young team, with just a few old guys like me clinging on, and the way the team have bonded is very encouraging for the future," he said. "The Championship is a very difficult trophy to win, but we have kept our cool and our belief. Success breeds success so hopefully we have put in place something that will serve Lancashire cricket well for years to come.
"When I was young I was lucky enough to join a really good Lancashire team and won four trophies in no time. You never forget those early successes and our current young players have won the biggest trophy of the lot. Those lads may be young, but they have proved how tough and resilient they are. Winning the title couldn't be any sweeter, but doing it with a group of players who were written off at the start of the season is even better.
"There were so many highlights in the season," he added. "Beating Yorkshire twice in close games stands out, but I could think of a lot more if I really tried. The lads have been magnificent."
However, the Championship wouldn't have been won without the efforts of Chapple himself. In the penultimate match he scored a crucial 97 against Hampshire then bowled through the pain of a nasty hamstring injury at Taunton to claim crucial wickets including two on the final day.
"I thought I had torn it on the first day, but you can't bowl with a torn hamstring and I am only human, so we'll have to see what the scan shows," he said. "I couldn't care less what it shows now. Credit our physio, some decent strapping and some tablets for getting me through."
Brown, a 23-year-old batsman, was at the non-striker's end when Steven Croft hit the Championship-winning runs and spoke about the team's belief and hardwork. "I doubt that any team has worked harder than us to get to where we are," he said.
"After a few games this season we definitely believed we could win the title. We have gone out there to enjoy our cricket, knowing there would be pressure days like we have had against Somerset. Peter Moores says you have to embrace pressure and that you play cricket for days like today. I'm sure we can put a few good seasons together now and hopefully we will win the title again in the near future."