CHAMPAGNE soaked Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple lavished praise on his Red Rose heroes last night after a 77-year wait for the County Championship ended in sensational style as they lifted the silverware at Somerset.
Chapple’s men went into the final day of the season very much second favourites with Warwickshire expected to ease past relegated Hampshire meaning Lancashire’s result would not have mattered.
But on a day of high drama Warwickshire were held to a draw and Lancashire tremend-ously reached a target of 211 in just 29.3 overs to claim the crown for the first time out-right since 1934.
And proud skipper Chapple, a former pupil of West Craven High School and graduate of Earby CC, could barely hide his delight.
“I have waited 20 years for this,” he beamed. “We have all waited a long time for this and we deserve it.
“You don’t win the county championship by playing bad cricket – and this year we have played good cricket all the way through.”
Chapple had played through the pain barrier for much of the final match but said there was no way he was not going to finish the season.
“I hope the scan shows a tear otherwise people will be thinking I was swinging the lead,” said Chapple, the son of former Nelson and Colne star Mike Chapple.
Steven Croft hit the winning runs to seal the glory at Taunton and with a giant grin on his face said: “It’s unbelievable, what a team effort that has been.”
Financial constraints led to Lancashire turning to homegrown talent rather than paying out for top stars - but the local heroes have risen to the challenge tremendously.
“It’s been built on the strong belief that we could do it, we have made brave decisions but we have won it as a team,” said coach Peter Moores.
“I am immensely proud of all of them.”