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Lancashire fail again at finals day

Oliver Brett | 15:24 UK time, Saturday, 4 August 2007

ob66.jpgIt is often unfair to accuse any individual, or indeed any team, of choking in the world of sport.

Jimmy White could never beat Stephen Hendry in the final of the World Snooker Championship, Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia have never won one of golf's major tournaments.

Are any of those three chokers though? Or were they simply outmanoeuvred when it mattered most?

In terms of cricket, the prodigiously talented Mark Ramprakash had a poor England career, but even his under-achievements barely compare to Lancashire's failure to win trophies.

On finals day morning, the Red Rose county - or 'Lightning' to give them their modern tag - were favourites to win the 2007 Twenty20 Cup.

Two days before the tournament began, they were the first to reveal their squad, 16-men strong no less (surely too many, anyway).

They had no injures, and their usual bevvy of top international players.

Chapple and Flintoff wonder where it all went wrong

But in the warm-ups at Edgbaston, opening batsman Mal Loye - admittedly a batsman made for Twenty20 cricket - suffered a back spasm.

Crisis? You bet. At least that was the way skipper Mark Chilton saw things.

Chilton afterwards suggested the sudden and unexpected absence of the freewheeling opener Loye was the principal reason for the team's downfall.

Remarkably, Andrew Flintoff was promoted to open the batting, when the pitch was at its least friendly for batsmen, and unsurprisingly looked ill at ease before succumbing cheaply.

Craig Spearman is, by contrast, one of those characteristically unfashionable Gloucestershire players.

But after putting Flintoff and co in the shade with a cavalier 86 off 55 balls, Spearman said: "It's very hard to come straight into Twenty20 after injury. I've done it and struggled myself."

If that's the case, what on earth was Flintoff doing opening the innings?

With the greatest of respect to the man, he has not been a consistent force with the bat at any level since 2005. His primary skill at present is with the ball.

And as Spearman pointed out, he's still adjusting to match conditions following ankle surgery.

Being dumped out of Twenty20 finals day when the excitement has barely started is never much fun.

But for a team to be as comprehensively thrashed as Lancashire were - when they had such an embarrassment of riches they could leave out England's Saj Mahmood - will inevitably lead to a major post-mortem at Old Trafford.

The loss of Loye, untimely though it was, was not the only reason they were beaten by eight wickets with 19 balls remaining.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:24 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Tom Robertson wrote:

Why should anybody think Lancs should outplay Gloucs in a short game? Lancashire did not choke - they were comprehensively beaten by a better Team (capital T)

  • 2.
  • At 05:34 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Justin wrote:

I'm not sure that ayone would consider I'd Saj Mahmood part of the "embarrassment of riches" available to Lancs. If he'd of played, I suspect that we would have won even more easily!

  • 3.
  • At 06:01 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Jamie Dowling wrote:

Lancashire bottled it, just as they did at Edgbaston against Surrey in 2004. Moral of this story: doesn't matter how many "star" players you have in your team, you still have to do the basics right.

Lancashire didn't, Gloucestershire did and were deserved winners. Something is missing from the Lancashire puzzle. Yes, Mal Loye's absence hurt them but one player does not a team make.

Saj Mahmood is overrated IMHO. To borrow from Bill Hicks "That's one boat that's left me on the island." Like Justin said, had he played, Gloucester would have won even more comprehensively.

Intriguing final ahead, neither of the favourites there.

  • 4.
  • At 06:05 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • clive copley wrote:

Lets be clear:
Gloucestershire won it, Lancashire didn't lose it'
Ditto for Kent & Sussex

  • 5.
  • At 07:41 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • C.Christmas wrote:

Mahmood? "Embarrassment of riches", I rather think not. Other than that, I'm not sure if Lancashire were really such overwhelming favourites, except for the fact that they had, as Oliver puts it, the most outwardly star-studded of the squads.

Twenty20 is a funny format though and it doesn't always bring out the best in players who shine in other forms of the game. Well done to Gloucestershire though, hopefully they'll pick themeselves up from their current collapse against Kent and produce a decent, competitive final.

  • 6.
  • At 08:21 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Will wrote:

Why all this Saj bashing? It's UNBELIEVABLE. Any other bowler with recent one-day figures of 5 for flippin' 16 would (and should) be applauded from all corners. And that's when he'd just got back from a hernia operation. His recent economy for Lancs is also an improvement from what it's been in the past, BUT HE WASN'T IN THE TEAM. Anderson and Flintoff the England "stars" and they were frankly an embarrasment. By all means attack them. Feel free. Just don't get at a young player with a lot of promise who has already performed at the highest level

  • 7.
  • At 08:38 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • oliver brett wrote:


You're right. I am by no means the biggest supporter of Mahmood but look at the four overs shared by Anderson and Cork - 0-55. Hard to imagine Sajid returning figures like that.

  • 8.
  • At 09:04 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Chris Marshall wrote:

As a Lancashire lad, today was nothing short of expected - we've a recet history of being the bridemaid and nothing that happened today changed the view. Batting Flintoff at the top of the order, be it opening or three / four is a massive risk. If he goes well, great, but against the best of the bowling as well as the ball, his technique or lack of it is likely to get him out. Not only does that cause Lancs a problem, it also gives the opposition a massive boost. The danger man is gone. Surely batting him at five / six would be more sensible - if all goes wrong at the top, the most destructive batsman in the line up is still to come, and if the top order go well, who would you prefer to come in and play aggressive cricket in the last five overs. Lancs aren't short of talent at the top of the order - losing Loye was a blow, but surely an opening pair of Law / Hodge would have been more sensible, even promoting a pinch hitting bowler such as Chapple or Cork to bat with Law would have been a safer bet. We can blame the weather as much as we like for our failings in the county championship / one day league, but what excuse do we have today? On a seperate note, I know Mark Chilton said he would have dropped himself today had Loye been fit, but what is the guy doing captaining a team going after every trophy in the game. Many older fans will remember the latter days of David Hughes captaining Lancs when he go tin the team on the strength of his captaincy - is Mark Chilton really in that class? He scores too slowley for county games, never mind the shorter stuff, so what are we doing? Is there really no other candidate? Law?

  • 9.
  • At 09:11 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • ANDY BISSITT wrote:

Why do I not see the most obvious reason for Lancashires continual failures in the other messages? Mark Chilton. He is a present day Mike Brearley As far as his England career went) in not desrving his place and retaining it purely because he is captain, but at least Brearley was a shrewd manager of men, I don't think the same can be said of Chilton.

Lancashire are the Manchester United of their lean period, full of stars and everyone's favourites to win everything. They are waiting for their own Alex Ferguson to get rid of the deadwood and instill some fight and new ideas. Goodbye Mr Watkinson - you were an average player and as a coach appear to be even worse.

  • 10.
  • At 09:16 PM on 04 Aug 2007,
  • Peter, Audierne wrote:

Bizarre journalistic attempt to create something out of nothing:
Lancs haven't won anything for yonks, why would it happen today?
Special mention of Saj Mahmood, who was not actually playing, to get his detractors to have another go at him.

  • 11.
  • At 11:53 AM on 05 Aug 2007,
  • Steve Heaton wrote:

I used to be a regular visitor to Old Traffoed but got so fed up of Lancashire under-achieving that I have packed it all in.

No surprise at all that they lost yesterday. It is the old adage of having a strong team on paper but the game is played on grass!

But one should always give due credit to the other side and Glos thoroughly deserved their comprehensive victory - and then went on to show how to fight to defend a modest total. Sure Kent got there in the end but Glos really made them work for it.

  • 12.
  • At 06:19 PM on 05 Aug 2007,
  • marginalcomment wrote:

I would have thought the decision to open with Flintoff was a poor one. He's hardly played this season and had no form coming into the game.

  • 13.
  • At 11:03 PM on 05 Aug 2007,
  • Matthew wrote:

Lancs didn't win because they are not a team, they are just a group of players with people like Anderson, Flintoff, Mahmood, Muralitherhan, Loye and Hodge who come and go as their country requires.

  • 14.
  • At 11:44 PM on 05 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen Ward wrote:

It has to be time to review the positions of Mark Chilton and Mike Watkinson after such consistent under achievement.

  • 15.
  • At 09:33 AM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Ed. McNerney wrote:

I was much more concerned at Lancs's capitulation at Liverpool on Thursday. Perhaps the Edgbaston debacle and Liverpool are part of the same problem. Lancs do not appear to have the same spirit as in yesteryear. It is difficult to mould a team of individual stars, and I'm afraid that Sussex and Gloucester are streets ahead in this department. We were a great one-day team, but perhaps now is the time for a major rethink on where the county is going.

  • 16.
  • At 10:54 AM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • marc wrote:

just another finals day fro lancs, the players who got us there like smith, horton, newby etc all dumped out and replaced with england 'superstars' im a lancs fan and wasnt best pleased to see freddie opening, nor playing 2 spinners (1 batsmen to short)

our score wasnt that bad however on the face of things (looking atthe 1st inns score of the other 2 matches) however we didnt even try to win the game and i blame mark chilton, hes not a leader, and an average county player who cant motivate a team. i think this is the end for chilton law or cork for the captaincy then we might have abit of passion like the other 3 teams had.

it was just embarrassing to even be there.

"usual bevvy of top international players"

The corect word is 'bevy'. 'Bevvy' is slang abbreviation for 'beverage'.

Lancashire's total turned out to be the second-highest of the day, yet they appeared to consider it undefendable even before Spearman had taken guard.

Do Lancashire's stars consider that things should come easily because their players are so much 'better' than their rivals?

  • 19.
  • At 01:43 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Stephen Wahl wrote:

As always the talk is about the nearly team, Lancashire. Not the finalists or the victors Kent.

  • 20.
  • At 01:48 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

The media's obsession with Lancashire, despite their trouncing by Gloucs and Kent's eventual victory is weird. Lancashire weren't that strong a side (and Gloucs aren't that weak) that Lancs losing is the biggest story of the day.

I know that Lancs were probably the only 'big' team in the finals, but that doesn't mean they were the only team full stop.

  • 21.
  • At 02:06 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Jon Barbuti wrote:

Well said Stephen Wahl.

And is there any point mentioning that Kent, the eventual champs, didn't get one player in the final 30, let alone England's chosen 15. And ditto Gloucs.

But, Treadwell isn't as big a name as Schofield, Denly, Key and Walker aren't galmorous enough and what Darren Stevens has to do to get a call-up I have absolutely no idea.

  • 22.
  • At 05:01 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Alan Thompson wrote:

Lancashire don't deliver because they are not good enough. Their batsmen are too flash and have no consistancy.Take Muri out of the equation and the bowling is very ordinary.Anderson.Mahmood,Chapple ? sorry.Lancashire may have their moments in the short game but they will never win the County Championship with their current lot

  • 23.
  • At 07:30 PM on 06 Aug 2007,
  • Smith wrote:

Gloucester batted better, bowled better & fielded better - stop making excuses for Lancs they were beaten by the better team.

  • 24.
  • At 12:33 AM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • Pat wrote:

Gloucestershire were the better side, ouytbowled, outbatted, outfielded Lancashire, except for one or two drops at the start.

Please give them the credit they deserve.

Thank you, same goes for Kent v Sussex.

  • 25.
  • At 10:19 AM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • Jennifer Reed wrote:

I think Lancashire and all the counties sometimes need to realise that they got where they got in the competition without any of their "star" players.. suddenly they come back the team is messed with and guess what? A loss..

  • 26.
  • At 11:46 AM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • spaceman wrote:

Well, the teams who did well on Twenty20 finals day did get their (deserved) share of the press reports. However, I do think that there's a story about Lancashire here but the article doesn't really dig deep enough.

The central question is how or why have Lancashire not won a trophy since 1999, having won lots of trophies in the 90s, and having access to the resources that they have?

My feeling is that they have simply forgotten how to win - they can't handle the crucial matches, the big games, the pressure situations. We can talk about batting order, etc, etc, but they had the players to win on Saturday. But those players, to some extent, fell apart when it mattered.

Witness this year's Twenty20 semi, or the T20 semi vs Surrey in 2004 or the T20 final vs Somerset in 2005, or last year's CGT trophy final, or the recent 4-day match vs Sussex, or a number of matches in which we have failed to bowl a side out on the last day, or several 50-over semi-final defeats (in which previously we were almost always unbeaten).

We have come second, particularly in the county championship, an inordinate number of times over the last few years. Now rain has been a factor, but so has the lack of the killer instinct, a trait that Sussex, for example, have shown in recent years. (Having someone like Mushtaq helps too!)

I'm intrigued by the idea, mooted in this thread, of the team of stars being less than the sum of its parts. It would certainly seem strange that a team full of international or former internationals does not have the bottle for the big match.

Anyway, I cling on to the hope that sooner or later we will win something and turn the corner (but alas not this season, it seems).

@Leslie Mustoe (post 17) - brilliant effort to correct "bevvy/bevy" but then to spell "correct" incorrectly!

  • 27.
  • At 03:32 PM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • Wilf England wrote:

Mark Chilton seems to be in the mould of "Buggins turn" I seem to remember some years back, a certain Mr Abrahams!! Have we really moved on.

  • 28.
  • At 04:08 PM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • Darren O'Donnell wrote:

"The corect word is 'bevy'.


Yeah nice one, Leslie!

Correct your corrections!!!

  • 29.
  • At 10:51 PM on 07 Aug 2007,
  • John Holland wrote:

On Saturday, I went to my first ever Twenty 20 match- spending the whole day at Edgbaston for the Finals Day.
Being a Lancastrian, I had high hopes for Lancashire- but what a let down!
From the word 'go' the whole thing was a disaster for the Lancashire Team.
Following Gloucestershire's impressive warm-up training routine, Lancashire elected to play 'beach-type' football!
Then an out of form Flintoff was chosen to open the innings- another disaster, marked by an awful run out.
By far the worst aspect of Lancashire's innings was their terrible running between the wickets- they were slow and ponderous, and seemed to 'amble' the first run - with little idea of what to do next.
Of the batsmen, only Brad Hodge seemed in good form and, if he'd stayed at the crease, they might have had a decent score.
Of the bowlers, both Flintoff and Anderson bowled far too short and showed poor control.
As a team, they certainly 'looked their age' both 'in the field' and 'between the wickets,' and were undoubtedly the worst side on view.
A vast overhaul in attitudes and preparation is obviously needed.

  • 30.
  • At 05:45 AM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • Josh wrote:

20/20 is inherently random because it's contrived. A proper game of cricket takes several days and consists of 2 full innings per side. The better side win more often than not in that form of the game.
One-day cricket, especially the 20/20 variety, is won less often by the stronger side than the longer form of the game.

  • 31.
  • At 07:28 PM on 08 Aug 2007,
  • dave howarth wrote:

As a Lancashire member I've seen under-achievement in big games and pressurised situations on a regular basis over the seasons. The pathetic capitulation at Liverpool bothered me more than the 20/20 Finals Day. Lancashire have to ask themselves should they put the best team in the field for a given game or merely get "Captain Pedalo" fit for England duty, a player who has contributed nothing of real value to Lancashire for at least five seasons. Lancashire's last champioship win this season was achieved using two spinners (Murali & Keedy). We play Sussex on a dry pitch, drop Keedy in favour of "Captain Pedalo", who contributes 0 wickets and 43 runs over 2 innings. Any of the younger players mentioned by other correspondents could have bettered that! Essentially we played a key game with 10 men. Watkinson was a good player for Lancashire in his day but is no coach and should go. Chilton is no worse or better than any other recent captains. Whether he is worth his place in the team is open to debate. The most worrying aspect is that the Lancashire Committee / Sub-Committees are supposed to be putting forward plans for ground development, when most of them put forward their electoral selling points of running the second-hand bookstall at the ground. Dream on - the loss of test match status at Old Trafford will put the icing on years of under-achievement.

  • 32.
  • At 02:21 PM on 09 Aug 2007,
  • marcus_webmail wrote:

Watkinson was a much loved player and captain but has been an abject failure as coach, just as Chilton has as captain.
We need to get back to the policies that stood us in good stead for 50+ years up to about 10 years ago. We need to bring on 8/9 born and bred Lancashire lads who understand what it means to play for the county and can build a real team spirit. Add to that a couple of overseas men who have skill which they can pass on to the youngsters and drive and we will get back to winning ways. The current trend of bringing in so called big name stars from other counties to create a mercenary team has failed to work now for 8 or 9 years and any other county would have realised its not working and made a change but unfortunately Lancashire are too complacent with the number of members and therefore too accepting of failure.

  • 33.
  • At 08:48 PM on 12 Aug 2007,
  • Christine Headley wrote:

I like the comment about Lancashire not having won anything since 1999. Kent have hardly won a thing since 1977 - until the twenty20, when we hadn't got out of the league stage since it started.

It would be nice if Rob and the boys could stay in the first division of the county championship, but not winning against Warwickshire and the sorry loss to Sussex aren't encouraging. We haven't wom anything in years, but we are the only county not to have graced the second division yet.

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