It has been an honour - Chapple
Captain Glen Chapple deflected the considerable praise directed his way straight on to his team-mates after Lancashire clinched an historic LV= County Championship title.
Lancashire’s eight-wicket win over Somerset at Taunton today, allied to Warwickshire’s failure to beat Hampshire at the Rose Bowl, saw them crowned champions for the first time since 1934.
While Chapple can finally savour a maiden championship triumph after 20 years as a Lancashire player, he was in modest mood when he revealed: “I don’t want any of that because the players have won the trophy, not me.
“Just as a player it’s enough; it’s tremendous. As a captain, I don’t know... It has been an honour to be part of this team.
“It’s brilliant. I’m very, very pleased, but I’m more pleased for the lads.”
This game was a microcosm of Lancashire’s summer, which has effectively been a six-month exercise in defying pundits’ far from optimistic pre-season predictions.
Those who thought at the start of the week that they could overturn Warwickshire’s three-point advantage were in the minority, even more so when Lancashire conceded 380 in the first innings and, again, when Hampshire were forced to follow on 100 miles east.
As it was, Warwickshire could only draw and Lancashire chased down 211 at seven an over with something approaching ease to bring an unpredictable season to another thrillingly late conclusion.
Proving the doubters wrong made Lancashire’s achievement all the better, according to Chapple - although, typically, for the younger players rather than himself.
"For a group of lads who were dismissed at the start of the season, it’s even better," he said.
“When people don’t think you’re good enough, to come out show that you can turn over more highly-rated teams has been terrific.
“We had absolutely no problem with it (the predictions). There’s no malice intended, but you can’t see into people’s character and work out how good they’re going to be.
“We’ve got young lads in the team who are making their way; nearly every player in the squad is developing.
“They’ve got it inside them; it doesn’t come from anyone else. They’ve been amazing, so we’re just lucky to have such a great bunch of lads.”
Lancashire’s 77-year wait for the championship title – they shared the trophy with Surrey in 1950 – has been well documented.
Indeed, the common perception was that it had become too weighty a burden for players unable to distance themselves from the past.
Not so, revealed Chapple, who has actively encouraged his charges to embrace the challenge of adding their names to those of Paynter, Washbrook and Tyldesley from the famous 1934 side.
“You build it up and create even more motivation for them,” Chapple said. “We talk about dealing with pressure.
“You’ve got to learn how to deal with it and the last few wins we’ve had, you can’t put them under any more pressure.”
He insists the younger members of his side “appreciate” the sense of history at one of cricket’s most distinguished counties.
“They know what this means,” said Chapple, who made valuable contributions with ball and bat in this game despite a suspected torn hamstring. “You can’t work as hard as they work without knowing that.
“This is a very, very difficult trophy to win and it takes some special moments to achieve that.
“But the best achievement is the team spirit the lads have created and the belief they’ve developed over the season. This couldn’t be any sweeter.”