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

    Catch dodgy actions early

Ian Chappell: Kids mimic the cricket heroes of the day, so the problem of throwing must be tackled below the first-class level

    Reorganising West Indies' first-class structure is only half the battle won

Tony Cozier: Pitches, umpiring, and practice facilities must be simultaneously improved

    Trading places

All Out Cricket: In a world where £50m can be staked on a single IPL game, armies of professional cricket traders work the betting markets. But who are these people?

The set-up

The Cricket Monthly: When Tony Greig was outwitted by Ashley Mallett
Download the app: for iPad | for Android tablet

A method to rate the dominance of Test teams

Kartikeya Date: Taking into account margin of victory and draws, while eliminating arbitrary decay in setting cut-off limits

News | Features Last 7 days

Champions League T20 still battling for meaning

The thrills are rather low-octane, the skills are a bit lightweight, and the tournament overly India-centric

Automaton, man, inspiration

Twenty years on, Shivnarine Chanderpaul continues to be understated, underestimated. And that doesn't bother him. What's not to like?

Busy keepers, and Waqar's bowleds

Also, high scores and low averages, most ducks in international cricket, and the 12-year-old Test player

85 Tests, 70 defeats

Of the 85 Tests that Bangladesh have played so far, they've lost 70 and won just four. Those stats are easily the worst among all teams when they'd played as many Tests

'My kind of bowling style is gone now'

Former New Zealand seamer Gavin Larsen talks about wobbly seam-up bowling, the 1992 World Cup, and his role in the next tournament

News | Features Last 7 days