Reviews ReviewsRSS FeedFeeds

Champions... About Bloomin' Time

The 77-year itch

Lancashire ended their long wait for the County Championship in September. Two journalists who watched every ball tell how it was done

Alex Winter

December 18, 2011

Comments: 2 | Text size: A | A

Cover of Champions: About blooming time
Enlarge
Related Links

After such a long wait, it probably deserved a book. Lancashire became outright county champions for the first time in 77 years in 2011 and Champions... About Bloomin' Time celebrates their glorious season.

Lancashire were tipped by many as relegation candidates, and there is a Roy of the Rovers element to this tale of an unfancied bunch of local lads defying the odds to take the title. The book encapsulates this spirit, and the cover photograph says it all.

Predictably enough for such a long-awaited achievement, the great and good of Lancashire have offered their congratulations. Forewords by Jack Simmons, Andrew Flintoff and Roy Tattersall, who died this month, reflect what this Championship victory means to the people of Lancashire and those who tried and failed to bring the title to Old Trafford over the preceding eight decades.

Between them, the authors witnessed every ball of the campaign, and their accounts of every day's play are recalled. The drama of victories over Yorkshire and Hampshire at Aigburth, and the clincher in Somerset, features prominently. The elation of the players is shared by the authors, and it takes the reader swimmingly through the book.

Full scorecards and action pictures are included, and quotes from the players in the aftermath of each match - allowing for an insight into the dressing room as the campaign develops. Every player is profiled in the course the book - in between the match reports, perhaps interrupting the flow of the narrative; but the profiles highlight the true team effort that took Lancashire to the title.

The coaching staff also get their own pages, as does chief executive Jim Cumbes. His profile and an article about the club's battle to develop their ground gives one an appreciation of the constraints Lancashire were operating under - no overseas players, no home ground, no superstars.

But their problems were perhaps a large part of their success, and Paul Edwards' article "For One Summer Only" reflects this. Edwards also provides a tip of the hat to the backroom staff, including scorer Alan West; an analysis of Lancashire's academy system, which produced a large part of the champion team; and a reflection on the Twenty20 semi-final defeat to Leicestershire in a Super Over.

"Maybe it was written in the heavens," writes Rev Malcom Lorimer in his epilogue. "Earlier in the year Manchester City won the FA Cup. When did they also win it? 1934 of course! It only happens once in a blue moon." Lancashire fans will hope this book proves to be anything but a once-in-a-blue-moon event, but for now, this neat, well-presented, easy-to-read volume provides happiness 77 years in the making.

Champions... About Bloomin' Time
Graham Hardcastle and Chris Ostick
Max Books
240pp, £16.99

Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by DaveMorton on (December 19, 2011, 0:11 GMT)

The blackest day in the history of the world, Lancashire win championship and Yorkshire relegated. And I was there, at Taunton! I bought a Somerset cap to show who I was supporting. Did no good. Well played Lancashire, great season and you've deserved it. If someone buys me the book, I'll pretend to read it! No, seriously, well done! A triumph for team-spirit and honesty.

Posted by parcher9 on (December 18, 2011, 15:06 GMT)

:D can't wait to get my copy

Comments have now been closed for this article

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print

    An all-round ODI giant

Numbers Game: Few players can boast the sort of numbers that Jacques Kallis achieved in ODIs

    Is being bowled out by Moeen embarrassing?

Polite Enquiries: Is Rahane India's Misbah? Should Rohit be dropped? Jarrod Kimber and George Dobell discuss

    'We were determined to prove we were not an average team'

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Dave Richardson remembers his favourite moment from the Lord's win in 1994

    'A test of Kohli's mental strength'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoffrey Boycott on Kohli's recent form, and Cook's captaincy

How does one 'lead by example'?

Alex Bowden: A captain needs to do enough as an individual to retain respect and control, but exceptional performances may not result in even greater influence

News | Features Last 7 days

The woeful world of Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh greeted his most expensive analysis in Test history with the words 'That is cricket'. It was admirable acceptance from an impressive man of a record he did not deserve

Ugly runs but still they swoon

Alastair Cook did not bat like a leading man but the crowd applauded him for simply not failing

Boycott floored by an Indian trundler

When Eknath Solkar got under the skin of Geoff Boycott, leading to a three-year self-imposed exile from Test cricket

Worst keepers, and honours at Lord's

Also, most keeping dismissals on debut, seven-for at HQ, and youngest ODI centurions

England's selection errors could lead to series defeat

Their decision to persist with Alastair Cook as captain, and to pick batsmen who can only score runs against weak attacks, will hurt them

News | Features Last 7 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!