A look back at Lancashire's One-Day success
The Kings of One-Day Cricket
Despite being nearly 200 miles from Emirates Old Trafford, there were times when Lancashire fans could quite rightly call Lord’s their second home.
That’s because the majority of the club’s success throughout their 153 years has come in one-day cricket.
In the time between Lancashire shared the County Championship in 1950 and when they won it outright in 2011, the club won 18 major one-day trophies. And as a result, the county deservedly earned the nickname ‘the Kings of One-Day Cricket’. And when they had world-class players such as Clive Lloyd, Wasim Akram, Neil Fairbrother, Mike Atherton, Mike Watkinson, Farokh Engineer – the list goes on – it is no wonder the silverware kept on coming.
But they had to play a qualifier just to play in the then 65-over Gillette Cup when it was introduced into the county calendar in 1963. A preliminary match had to be played between the bottom two teams in the previous year’s Championship to reduce 17 counties down to 16 for the new competition, and Lancashire comfortably beat the Foxes in what was the first one-day game played in England.
They reached the semi-final that year, but they had to wait until 1969 to convert that early promise into silverware, with new overseas signing Clive Lloyd crucial to their success in the inaugural 40-over Player’s County League competition.
It was the club’s first piece of silverware in 35 years and the start of the Jack Bond legacy.
Bond, a steady and selfless middle-order batsman, captained Lancashire to five one-day titles before standing down in 1972, and team-mate David Lloyd was full of praise for the Kearsley-born great.
“Jack was honest and just genuinely wanted his young players to do well,” said Lloyd. “He was almost a father figure to all of us. He formed our character both as a team and as individuals.”
Bond’s second and third titles came in 1970 when the Red Rose defended the Player’s County League title, rebranded as the John Player League, and beat Sussex at Lord’s to lift the Gillette Cup.
In 1971 came arguably the club’s most famous match en-route to retaining their Gillette Cup crown with a final win over Kent at Lord’s.
In the semi-final, Lancashire beat Gloucestershire by three wickets in fading light at Old Trafford thanks to some lusty hitting from David Hughes, who smashed 24 off the spin of John Mortimore in the 56th over of 60 with 25 needed after the hosts had been in some trouble-chasing 230.
“The thing I remember most is that it was a very long day,” said Hughes. “It was a rain-interrupted match and I don’t exactly know the time it finished, but it must have been after nine. It probably was 8.45pm when I went out to bat.
“They even stopped the BBC nine o’clock news to take live coverage from Old Trafford!”
Lancashire completed an historic treble of Gillette Cup crowns in 1972 thanks to a man-of-the-match display from Clive Lloyd in the final against Warwickshire at Lord’s.
Lloyd’s 126 in pursuit of a competition record target of 235 left legendary commentator Richie Benaud to hail it as ‘one of the greatest innings seen on this ground in any type of cricket’
Another Gillette Cup title followed in 1975, this time under the leadership of David Lloyd, before eight years passed without a Lord’s final triumph.
It was only pierced when the club won the Lambert and Butler Trophy in 1981 – a seven-a-side competition played on football grounds. Lancashire beat Leicestershire in the final at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
The Red Rose returned to Lord’s and won the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1984, a final against Warwickshire famous for skipper John Abrahams claiming the man-of-the-match award for his captaincy alone.
He may have taken the crucial catch to get rid of Alvin Kallicharran (70) as the Bears were bowled out for 139, but he scored a duck in the chase.
Hughes then led Lancashire to four trophies in three-years between 1988-1990, including the amazing feat of winning the NatWest Trophy and B&H Cup double in 1990.
Then it was Mike Watkinson’s turn to skipper the side and experience lifting the silverware on that Lord’s balcony.
Watkinson, man-of-the-match in the B&H Cup final success of 1990 against Worcestershire, also won four trophies as captain like Hughes.
The first of those came in 1995, with Gary Yates crucial in helping his side survive a stunning century from Kent’s Sri Lankan batsman Aravinda de Silva in the B&H final.
And Watkinson was captain in 1996 when the county secured a one-day double for the third time.
But that season it was the twin semi-final successes over Yorkshire that really captured the imagination – especially the B&H win when last man Peter Martin hit two off the last ball to win as the Red Rose pursued 251.
Warren Hegg’s stunning 81 off 62 balls was pivotal, and Martin recalled: “It’s amazing how you go through your whole career taking 950-odd wickets, but the main thing people remember is you hitting two off the last ball!”
Lancashire also won the NatWest semi-final by 19 runs at Old Trafford later in the season, with Martin adding: “We absolutely murdered them in that one.”
Again, Lancashire won the double two years later, this time the NatWest Trophy and the Axa Sunday League crown, before John Crawley’s Lightning won the county’s last one-day trophy to date, the newly branded CGU Sunday League in 1999.
Sixteen years later, Lancashire Lightning won the NatWest T20 Blast for the first time in the Club’s history. The Club’s maiden NatWest T20 Blast may have been a long time coming, but it was definitely worth the wait.
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