By Neil Fissler
WARREN HEGG believes that it will remain one of cricket’s great mysteries why Lancashire weren’t crowned County Champions in the 1990s.
Between 1990 and 1999 Lancashire had an impressive haul of trophies; three NatWest crowns, two Sunday League titles and three Benson & Hedges Cups.
But it wasn’t until 2011 that they were finally crowned champions of England despite having one of the best side’s of any era with a line up full of internationals.
Hegg is however at a loss to explain why they didn’t fulfil their true potential by adding a County Championship to the list of trophies then.
“Looking back at that time it is one thing that was disappointing with that team that we didn’t win the Championship,” said Hegg. “But the success that we had in the one day competitions around that time seemed to fill that void.
“I don’t know why we didn’t push on in the Championship because we certainly had the ability. It will be one of those great cricket mysteries why we didn’t win a Championship. We all wanted to win it desperately. In my career I finished runner up four times.
“We were always there or thereabouts but we never quite got over the line.”
Hegg and Lancashire were however almost unstoppable in the short format of the game and Kent couldn’t stop them in a memorable Benson & Hedges Cup Final.
Kent skipper Steve Marsh won the toss and asked Lancashire to bat, a decision he must have regretted when Mike Atherton (93) and Jason Gallian (36) put on 80 for the first wicket.
Atherton and John Crawley (83) put on 121 for the second wicket as the Red Rose county reached 274-5 from their 55 overs.
A brilliant 112 from Aravinda de Silva gave Kent plenty of hope but wickets fell at regular intervals and they were bowled out for 239 handing Lancashire victory by 35 runs.
“I remember that game because Marshy knocked on the dressing room door about ten minutes before the start and asked if he could borrow my wicket keeping pads!” added Hegg.
“He had forgotten his. It was a wicket keeper’s union so of course I lent them to him. Although if I hadn’t liked him I would have said no chance.
“Then he would had to have used batting pads and looked like something out of the 1950s! But it was a really good pitch and we smashed it around a bit.
“That was also the game where David Fulton came in to face Wasim Akram without a helmet on, which we couldn’t believe and he started to pull and cut Wasim.
“Then there was the innings from Aravinda de Silva. I remember thinking that he was going to win the game for them on his own.
“They were losing wickets regularly and not really getting any partnerships but he was hitting anything for four.
“In the 20 years that I was a pro that was the best one day innings I ever saw. He was on fire then Ian Austin got him caught by Graham Lloyd on the boundary and that was crucial.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Graham Lloyd: Son of Bumble lives in Accrington where he coached and has followed in his father’s foot steps by becoming a first class umpire.
Ian Austin: England one day bowler is now running his own sports memorabilia and music collectibles business in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
Nick Speak: A batsman who has settled in Melbourne, coaching at Melbourne Cricket Club and works as a sales and Marketing Consultant for X-Golf Australasia.
Gary Keedy: A left-arm spinner is now a qualified chartered physiotherapist. He also coaches at Notts and runs his own freelance coaching company SpinScience.
Peter Martin: England bowler earns a living as a bowling coach, corporate trainer and he has also been a commercial artist since 1997.
John Crawley: England international batsman taught at Marlborough Collage, was head of cricket at Magdalen College School, Oxford and is now a history teacher and director of cricket at Oakham School.
Glen Chapple: Former captain is still with Lancashire where he is currently working as the first team coach but returned to the playing ranks this week in the win over Gloucestershire.
Jason Gallian: An opening batsman who played three Test matches for England. Settled in the Essex area where he works as a geography teacher and director of cricket at Felsted School.
Gary Yates: Spinner who played for Lancashire between 1989 and 2004. Became second XI coach and is now the counties assistant coach and academy director.
Warren Hegg: Wicket-keeper who returned to Old Trafford in a corporate sales and sponsorship role after retiring. Is now business development manager.
Mike Atherton: The former England opening batsman and captain has a successful career in the media with Sky Sports as well as cricket correspondent of The Times.
Mike Watkinson: England all-rounder who spent 32 years with the county before stepping down as director of cricket in October 2014. Is now director of cricket at Manchester Grammar School.
Neil Fairbrother: The England batsman retired from the game 13 years ago to become director of cricket at Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management agency.
Wasim Akram: Pakistan fast bowler has worked as a television commentator and has also coached Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL as well as in cricket camps in his homeland.
Andrew Flintoff: England all-rounder played for the Brisbane Heat in the last Big Bash and in March won the Australian version of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Richard Green: England Under-19 international seamer lives in Warrington and works as sales manager for Skillray Tachographs.
Darren Shadford: A fast bowler, whose brother Andrew played for Lancs second XI, became a furniture salesman.
Stephen Titchard: A batsman who has stayed on working for the Lancashire Cricket Board as their Performance Manager.
This article was originally published in The Cricket Paper, June 12 2015