Red Rose on a Shirt, Trophy Still Gleaming, 77 Years of Hurt, Never Stopped Us Dreaming
Well, this was a day I never expected to see. The first Wisden I owned was the 1977 edition and Lancashire finished 16th in 1976 in the County Championship (Andrew Kennedy bizarrely Young Cricketer of the Year) compared to 4th in 1975 (there was a 1976 Wisden in the reference library at Fulwood library). That was the beginning of a miserable run in first class cricket for Lancashire and the cause of much soul-searching on my part. How my ten year old self would have loved today! Of course, Lancashire have had two good runs in one-day cricket, but it's not quite the same and they came second by one point to Nottinghamshire in 1987, but it is the championship that all true fans have been demanding all these years. To be fair, Lancashire have finished second five times since 1998, but not since 2006. And it nearly didn't happen today. If it hadn't been for a deeply improbable rearguard action by bottom of the table Hampshire following on against Warwickshire, it would all have been for nothing. But after struggling slightly to scuttle Somerset for as small a sum as we would have liked, Lancashire were set an eminently defendable 211 in quick time. Somerset must have fancied their chances, certainly of a draw. But, amazingly, they polished off runs for the loss of just two wickets to win by eight wickets and bring the county championship trophy back to where it belongs after 77 years. Luckily, I didn't actually burst into tears at work on hearing the commentary of the winning runs. This was an amazing effort by a team that blended youth and experience. Kerrigan for England surely. And now all they have to do is an establish a dynasty. There is a precedent for that in Trafford, I understand. Essex won their first county championship in 1979 and proceded to five more over the next thirteen seasons. That would be all right, but why not go better and make it eight in a row to put the legendary Surrey team of the 1960s in the shade? Come on, Lancy!