Team ethos does Moores proud
Head coach Peter Moores believes Lancashire’s lack of superstars is the reason they won the LV= County Championship.
A largely unfancied side crammed with homegrown youngsters made history yesterday by lifting the most famous trophy in county cricket, ending a much-publicised barren streak that stretched back to 1934.
Before the season one former player was heard describing the current team as the worst in the club’s distinguished history, but his comments were made to look little short of insulting long before Lancashire wrapped up victory over Somerset at Taunton in the dying moments of the summer.
Those with only a passing interest in Lancashire cricket will know the names of some of the illustrious players who failed to do what the likes of Brown, Croft, Cross, Hogg and Kerrigan have now achieved.
“What has been nice is it has been young players fronting up and having a go,” Moores told ecb.co.uk as he watched his players, soaked in champagne, dancing on the dressing room balcony.
“They know each other from a long way back. A lot of these players have come through youth cricket together and we all try and appreciate that it’s bigger than any one individual.
“Playing for your county is special – you’re representing a lot of other people. There have been great players down the years and your job is to carry the mantle if you can.”
Lancashire’s triumph is testament to the team spirit fostered by Moores and captain Glen Chapple, county cricket's very own Peter Pan. He was one of three bowlers, alongside Gary Keedy and Kyle Hogg, to take more than 50 wickets in the season.
It was not until the final session at Taunton that Stephen Moore and Paul Horton passed 1,000 runs. They were the only players to do so.
Even Farveez Maharoof, an overseas signing some way short of the stature of Clive Lloyd, Wasim Akram or Muttiah Muralitharan - and even deemed surplus to requirements late in the season - averaged 40 with the bat.
With Chapple, who has been a championship runner-up five times in the last 13 years, reluctant to accept any plaudits for his part in Lancashire’s success, Moores was more than happy to shower his skipper with the highest praise.
“Chappy deserves a lot of credit,” he said. “He keeps the game simple, he runs in, he leads from the front.
“He doesn’t waste his words. He doesn’t make a drama out of anything. That is all you can ask for in a captain – he lives what he asks people to do.”
Chapple’s performance against Somerset was the perfect example. Despite suffering a suspected torn hamstring barely half an hour into the first day and being reduced to a hobble for much of the game, he led the Lancashire attack with the sort of wholehearted vigour that has typified his 20-year career.
For the record, he took 5-96 in the match and scored a bonus-point-clinching 23 from number nine in a Lancashire innings that, fittingly, featured 11 double-figure scores. It was the definition of a team effort.
Moores, who won the title with Sussex in 2003, added: “This game sort of sums our season up: Chappy bowls with his leg falling off, players stepping up, some brilliant catches and a never-say-die attitude.”
Moores conceded there were moments when doubts crept into his head, particularly after Lancashire were humbled inside five sessions by Worcestershire three matches from the end of the season.
“Worcestershire was a tough two days – it is one of the shortest games I’ve ever been involved in,” he said.
“We came away, we sat down and looked at it, and we said we needed to win the next two games to stand a chance. That’s how it’s happened.
“The players kept fronting up every day, and they kept the belief after the first day of this game when Somerset were 314 for five. They kept going at them.
“That belief is a fantastic thing to have. It doesn’t always get you over the line, but on this occasion it has. It’s a special moment and we’ll enjoy it.”