Five years after leading Lancashire to a historic County Championship win, Glen Chapple spoke to Jo Harman about the defining moments of a wicket-laden career.
First published in 2016
The surprise call-up
0-55 & 0-7 | Sussex v Lancashire, County Championship, Hove | 1992
I was playing a second-team game at Crosby, in the first year of my summer contract, and our coach Alan Ormrod said, ‘We need to pack you a bag, you’re going to be playing with the first team’. I’d been taking a fair amount of wickets and scoring a few runs but at 18, I thought the first team was quite a long way away. I did well enough to realise I was good enough. From being 17 and it still seeming such a long way away, all of a sudden I’d played a game with England players and there wasn’t that big a difference.
55 wickets at 26.80 | County Championship season | 1994
In 1993 Phillip DeFreitas left, so I was opening the bowling. I had three or four five-wicket hauls and took 50-odd wickets. I was playing a significant part in winning matches. I was capped that season and that was a fair achievement at the age of 20, playing for a big club.
The first trophy
2-55 | Kent v Lancashire, Benson & Hedges Cup Final, Lord’s | 1995
It was my first big Lord’s final and in those days they were regarded as the biggest games of the season. I was in a team of England internationals and proven performers and there was excitement but also a feeling of not wanting to let the lads down. We got 280 or so and it looked like we were going to win but Aravinda de Silva was smacking it everywhere; hitting half-volleys over cover but if you dragged it back he was pulling you into the stand. He was putting enough pressure on the bowlers to make it uncomfortable. I just felt a sense of relief that we’d won a trophy. I didn’t enjoy much of the day apart from when we won.
The Lord’s six-for
6-18 | Lancashire v Essex, NatWest Trophy Final, Lord’s | 1996
I feel a bit sorry for Peter Martin, really. He had three-for when I came on and I was lucky enough to take six and get the Man of the Match award. I remember I bowled a bit of a loosener that got hit for four and then Darren Robinson nicked to Neil Fairbrother at slip and all of a sudden they were four down and it was moving around. The best thing from a selfish point of view was I was able to bowl some balls that looked good on TV; the stumps were flying around and that’s part of what people remember.
7 first-class wickets at 22.71 | England ‘A’ Tour of Australia | 1996
I’d been to India in 1995 and done really well – to bowl against Dravid and Ganguly and beat them, on those pitches, I enjoyed that. I came back from that tour with a good chance of playing for England but that didn’t pan out. I picked up a couple of injuries and had to start from scratch again. In 1996, I went on an ‘A’ tour to Australia and that was a brilliant trip. We just went around Australia beating every state team. Adam Hollioake was captain and we had Mark Butcher, Dean Headley, Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath, Ashley Giles, Craig White… a hell of a team. And we had a good laugh. It was still in the era when you celebrated wins properly!
The nearly man
England v South Africa, 3rd Test, Trent Bridge | 2003
I was only 29 but it felt like my last chance when I was named in the squad. I was disappointed that I didn’t get picked for the match – I was bowling well and the other lads weren’t. Troy Cooley, the bowling coach at the time, said, ‘You’ve done well, we’ll see you around’. I said, ‘I bet you won’t’. And they didn’t. I was good enough to play, I’m not going to be modest and say I wasn’t, but it doesn’t matter to me that much now. I was disappointed not to play Test cricket but I’m over it.
No luck against the Irish
0-14 | Ireland v England, Only ODI, Belfast | 2006
I was a bit surprised to get the call, but I was happy. I was 32 but I’d bowled really well for a long time so I deserved it. The problem was I’d done that much work to get in that I was probably due an injury, which came in the bloody game. I know Duncan Fletcher was disappointed that I’d played for Lancashire in the build-up but it was a semi-final and I felt loyalty to my county because I’d played for them for 14 years and not played for England. I played the game and then got a helicopter to join the team. Stupidly the next day I felt I needed to show all my skills in the nets when really I should’ve said, ‘I could probably do with a day off’. Instead I practised with the new ball, practised in the middle, practised death bowling and we were playing the next day. Two overs into the game I felt something tear around my stomach.
Ending the long wait
57 wickets at 19.75 | County Championship season | 2011
Winning the County Championship, the club’s first in 77 years, was the biggest moment of my career. On paper the team was getting weaker, we were losing the big-name players, we were short of money and the press was writing us off, so it was an amazing season that was full of memorable games. The Taunton game [in which Chapple took his 800th first-class wicket as Lancashire won to seal the title] was massive. It looked like we were running out of time, we had to bowl Somerset out, and then Gary Keedy threw the stumps down from point for the last wicket and we chased 220 in just over a session. We had players in the dressing room that didn’t move for two hours – Kyle Hogg started the innings in the toilet and didn’t come out! The players were solely focused on winning games, it wasn’t about themselves. I bet there were at least nine homegrown players in every team we fielded that year, and all young too, apart from myself and [Mark] Chilton. I think total team focus carried us through that year.
53 wickets at 20.73 | County Championship season | 2013
I was tempted to walk away from the captaincy following relegation [in 2012] but I was still enjoying the job. For some people it can be draining but I found it energising. It gives you things to focus on, providing you don’t take things too personally. I didn’t put winning the Championship down to me and I also didn’t see relegation as my fault. You just crack on. We’d have been disappointed if we didn’t achieve promotion at the first time of asking but nonetheless it was something to celebrate.
First published in 2016