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Championship triumph was a great day for generations of Lancashire players, says Jack Simmons

For years, I’ve been telling everybody that I’ll be able to die happy when Lancashire win their first outright Championship since 1934. But I won’t be riding off into the sunset just yet.

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All week I’ve been tempted to go down to Taunton to watch but on Thursday morning it looked certain that Warwickshire would win it and, even worse, maybe by a single point. So I decided to stay at home and watch their match against Hampshire on the telly again.

As the day unfolded it became impossible to watch and I had to keep switching over to the golf on the other channel. I’ve no idea who was playing or what tournament it was!

I played in some great Lancashire sides, under captains like Jack Bond and David Hughes. We won eight major one-day trophies in my career.

They were wonderful times. But ask any of the players involved which trophy they really wanted to win and they would all have said the same thing: the County Championship. Bringing it back to Old Trafford was always the dream.

As I was approaching the end of my career, we had younger players such as Mike Atherton, Neil Fairbrother and Warren Hegg and I was desperate to hang on for a while longer because I was convinced we would finally do it. But it never happened for me or for them. Now it has and we can all finally enjoy the moment.

What pleases me more than anything is that we have won it with a group of players who have mainly learned their cricket in Lancashire. That’s something I’ve always believed in.

It was always a privilege to play for Lancashire and what made it so special was the tremendous camaraderie in the dressing-room. If anybody thought we had superstars, they were wrong. This current side have developed that same kind of team spirit and unity. No one gave them a chance at the start of the season but they’ve stuck together from day one and managed to hang in there when it mattered.

I opened a bottle of champagne on Thursday night and now I’ve got to get on with final plans for my golf day for Mark Chilton’s benefit on Monday. I organise one every year and it’s always a good do but I think this one might be more special than usual.

Jack Simmons MBE made 429 first-class appearances for Lancashire, scoring 8,773 runs and taking 985 wickets. He was Lancashire chairman from 1997 to 2008.

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