By Neil Fissler
Mike Watkinson admits this was a Lancashire side who, once they got into the winning habit in one-day cricket, never thought that they were going to get beaten.
It showed with the Red Rose county becoming the first to win both Benson & Hedges Cup and NatWest Trophy in the same year – something that had eluded the great team of the Seventies.
And they came close to being the first to do the clean sweep, narrowly failing to retain the Refuge Assurance League, just missing out to Derbyshire.
Watkinson said: “Once we got into the winning habit in one-day cricket, we never knew when we were beaten. That was one of our strengths.
“There was no trigger in a game saying to us that we were probably not going to win today, It simply meant we had to find a different way of winning a match.
“In the semi-final of the NatWest we beat Middlesex over three days and we needed to get nearly 300 to win, which in those days was a massive score.
“But over the course of the three days we got the runs and Gehan Mendis batted through, and he just stitched it along.”
In the Benson & Hedges Cup final Lancashire batted first making 241-8 before bowling Worcestershire all out for 172 to win by 69.
Watkinson took the Gold Award after scoring 50 runs and taking 2-37 and said: “It was two star-studded line-ups, there was real quality in both teams.
“I obviously remember it because I was man of the match which made it really special. It was around that time we had our traditional county-style bowlers opening the bowling.
“They extracted whatever movement they could from the new ball then when the batsman thought they had seen off the new ball we brought on Wasim Akram.
“He slipped one across Graeme Hick and Warren Hegg took a great catch. Ian Botham was their last real threat and it took us a little while to get rid of him but once we had done that the back of the game was broken.”
But their return to the Home of Cricket to face Northants in the NatWest Trophy final against Northants turned into a non event thanks to Phil DeFreitas ripping the heart of their batting.
DeFreitas took 5-26 as Northants were reduced to 171 all out and Lancashire cruised to 173-3 with more than 14 overs to spare thanks to Neil Fairbrother’s 81.
Watkinson continued: “Daffy bowled very well with the new ball and he got the key players out but the pivotal moment in that match was when we were batting and I seem to remember we lost two early wickets.
“Then Curtly Ambrose dropped a very easy catch, it was a dolly and Neil Fairbrother who was only on a handful at the time went on to have a decent knock.
“Had they taken that catch who knows what might have happened after. It wasn’t the greatest of pitches and it was nibbling around a bit early on.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Jason Gallian: An opening batsman who settled in Essex where he is a geography teacher and director of cricket at Felsted College.
Dextor Fitton: A spinner who is now logistics manager for Hanson Springs Ltd in Rochdale.
John Crawley: An England batsman who went into teaching. Now a history teacher and director of cricket at Oakham School.
Ronnie Irani: Former England all-rounder who lives in Essex was a presenter for talkSPORT and is the co-inventer of a customised insole.
Stephen Titchard: Batsman is now working for the Lancashire Cricket Board as performance manager.
Gary Yates: All-rounder is an assistant coach at Lancashire as well as academy director.
Ian Austin: England ODI bowler runs a sports memorabilia and music collectibles business in Lytham St Annes.
Nick Speak: Batsman who now lives in Melbourne, Australia. Head of sales for XGolf Australasia after being customer manager for fashion company Icebreaker.
Graham Lloyd: Son of Bumble. Was a coach at Accrington and is now a first-class umpire.
Laurie Brown: Former Manchester United physio. Spent 20 years at Lancashire until retiring in February 2007.
John Savage: He served at Old Trafford as player, coach and scout. He lived in Crumpsall, north Manchester, until his death in July 2008, aged 69.
Warren Hegg: Wicketkeeper is now business development manager at Old Trafford.
John Stanworth: Another keeper who spent over 30 years at the county but left his role as academy director in March 2015.
Patrick Patterson: West Indies fast bowler is now back in Harbour View, Jamaica, but has been a recluse for a number of years.
Peter Martin: England pace bowler has been bowling coach, life trainer. Has also been a commercial artist since 1997.
Phil DeFreitas: England all-rounder. Now a coach; after- dinner speaking regular; and star of the Golden Golf charity tour.
Mike Atherton: Former England opening batsman and captain works for Sky Sports and is cricket correspondent of The Times.
Ian Folley: Left-arm spinner who tragically died, aged 30, in August 1993 after suffering a heart attack during a minor operation after he was hit under the eye playing for Whitehaven.
Bill Davies: Spent 11 summers as scorer until two years before his death in September 1999.
Chris Hassell: Former Crystal Palace secretary who spent 25 years in cricket and was Yorkshire’s chief executive until 2002. Treasurer to the Yorkshire Schools Board.
Mike Watkinson: England all- rounder was Lancashire director of cricket and now has a similar role at Manchester Grammar School.
Graeme Fowler: England opening batsman who coached in Durham’s academy before starting Durham University’s Centre of Cricketing Excellence.
Paul Allott: The former England pace bowler is currently a commentator for Sky Sports and is a member of the Lancashire committee.
Alan Ormrod: Is now retired after becoming director of cricket at Lancashire, Notts and Hertfordshire.
David Hughes: All-rounder who was a Lancashire stalwart for two decades. He went on to run David Hughes Insurance services in Warrington.
Cyril Washbrook: Legendary England batsman who had a sports outfitting business and served on the Lancashire committee from 1961 until 1988. He died in April 1999, aged 84.
Bob Bennett: The Lancashire chairman is now living in retirement in Douglas on the Isle of Man.
Gehan Mendis: Sri Lankan-born opening batsman qualified as a teacher and lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire.
Neil Fairbrother: England batsman is the director of cricket at Chubby Chandler’s International Sports Management.
Trevor Jesty: England ODI batsman, who also played for Hampshire and Surrey. Was a first-class umpire until his retirement in 2013. Now coaches from his base in Fareham.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper on Friday November 27, 2015