By Matthew Sherry
Captain Glen Chapple has lauded his players’ ability to overcome the pressure of being promotion favourites after Lancashire won Division Two of the LV= County Championship at the first attempt.
Just a year removed from scooping the biggest prize in domestic cricket, the Red Rose were relegated last season following a poor defence of their crown.
However, led by talismanic skipper Chapple, they have wasted little time in returning to the top flight.
“It’s a fantastic achievement and it’s not an easy thing to do,” he told ecb.co.uk. “We have got to be delighted with our efforts over the season.
“To win it comfortably is really satisfying. It would be easy to take your foot off the gas but we’ve been disciplined throughout.
“There is a fair amount of pressure with a big club to go straight back up. It’s not as easy as that. Obviously teams have done it in the past but it takes a lot of discipline and effort.”
For the evergreen Chapple, now nearly 40 years old, came the inevitable question of how much longer he can go on.
Asked exactly that, he responded: “I don’t know. It is coming towards the end of a career but I never want to go into a season thinking it is my last.
“Hopefully there will always be a chance of another season; when the time is right you will feel it or someone will tap you on the shoulder.
“Next year may or may not be the last one; hopefully it will not be.”
While unwilling to commit on his future, Chapple did concede that winning trophies takes on extra significance at this juncture.
“Me and Mooresy (Peter Moores) have spoken about that; as you get older, the focus does become more about winning trophies,” he added.
“I want to play good cricket but obviously I am not playing just to play the game. I want to win things.
“This team is very ambitious and it’s a great place to play cricket so you feel lucky to be fit enough still to play and try and get as much out of the game as you can and help a club that’s been good to you over the years.”
And now it is the Division One title Chapple has his eyes on once more.
“I think we have a better squad than we did two years ago,” he admitted. “That was a very special time for us with a limited number of players for various reasons.
“We gelled together as a team and it was a fantastic season which we will always remember.
“As a squad now we’re more powerful; we’ve got more numbers, players who have improved in quality and learnt from last season.
“We will have to make sure we learn from this season as well. There are some fantastic teams in Division One. We will have to be good to compete and we’re looking forward to it.”