|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
Lancashire ended their long wait for the County Championship in September. Two journalists who watched every ball tell how it was done
December 18, 2011
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
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Shaun Pollock talks to Alison Mitchell about career highs and lows
Numbers Game: Over the last four years, Rangana Herath has become Sri Lanka's strike bowler
Afghanistan's former coach may have quit cricket to pursue religion, but he remains with the side in spirit
Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Kevin Pietersen's un-English technique
Samir Chopra: India fans can only cower under furniture in the face of such numerological terror
A gutting loss to England, after leading the series 1-0, has thrown up some glaring inadequacies in the Indian team but there is little being said or done in terms of improvement
After 8-0, MS Dhoni could look forward to building a team from scratch; now, there is nothing left for him to contribute. Free him from the Test captaincy and he could yet give back in other ways
For all MS Dhoni's many trophies and accomplishments, Test cricket continues to resist his magic and indefinitely postpone his motorbike ride into the sunset
Sri Lanka's marks out of 10 following their 2-0 series win against Pakistan
Former players react to India's humiliating 1-3 series defeat in England
Why does the man who is possibly England's greatest fast bowler occasionally turn into Mr Hyde on the field?
With too great an emphasis on limited-overs cricket, MS Dhoni's side have a set of skills and a level of concentration that are not commensurate with the necessities of Tests