By Neil Fissler
Kyle Hogg admits that West Indian star Carl Hooper was a major influence on Lancashire winning promotion into the First Division of the National League.
The Red Rose county, who had won five Sunday League titles, found themselves in the second division after being relegated in 2003.
Hogg says that it was typical of Lancashire at the time who found themselves getting promoted and being relegated on a regular basis at the time.
In a push for promotion they signed Hooper after he retired from international cricket in March 2003 and it paid dividends immediately.
Hooper played 16 matches scoring 597 runs at an average of 74.62 and he took 14 wickets at 27.07 to claim the title eight points clear of Northamptonshire.
Hogg said: “It was great playing with Carl Hooper as he was someone that I grew up admiring and being in the same changing room as him was pretty special.
“I just remember him and Mal Loye batting all the time. Mal really took off with his one-day batting, he started to sweep the fast bowlers into the stands on a regular basis.
“We got some really big scores and even though he was at the end of his career you could tell Carl was a step above everybody else.
“It always seemed that if we needed to win a game he would do it on his own. He was class.”
After losing two of their first four games against Northants and Scotland both at Old Trafford, Lancashire went on a long unbeaten run.
Winning the next 11 games put them in pole position for the title which they went onto claim after gaining their revenge on Northants at the County Ground.
Phil Jacques scored 107 as Northants clocked up 240 with a ball to spare of their 45 overs but Lancashire were not to be denied.
Iain Sutcliffe (54) put on 112 for the first wicket before Loye (104 not out) and Stuart Law (79) saw them home by nine wickets in 36.4 overs.
Hogg added: “Scotland used to beat us nearly every time they played us. It was a massive shock. A couple of times we got on the wrong end of a toss and it was rain effected.
“And they bowled first and restricted us to a low score and then they knocked them off batting. But they had a good side – Rahul Dravid played against us in 2003.
“I remember we got on a roll. Peter Martin opened the bowling with either myself or John Wood and we had a really strong batting line up.
“The team was pretty much the same as the four-day team so everyone knew their roles and stuff like that.”
BACK ROW (left-right):
Mark Currie: A batsman who is still based in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, where he runs cricket camps and his own coaching business.
John Wood: Fast bowler has worked for staffing and recruitment specialists Michael Page and now Watson Moore since retiring from the game in 2004.
Kyle Hogg: A fast bowler who was forced to retire in September 2014 with a back injury. Is now working for concert promoters SJM.
Mal Loye: The England batsman coached at Wellingborough School but is now high performance coach and batting coach to the Bangladesh cricket board.
Iain Sutcliffe: The former batsman went into teaching economics at Wellington College where he is now housemaster of Murray House.
Sajid Mahmood: The England fast bowler and cousin of Amir Khan is in the rag trade as marketing director of urban streetwear brand Baulla.
Steven Crook: The Australian born all rounder is still playing for Northants and is the director of media company Maumedia.
Alan West: The former school teacher and BBC Lancashire journalist was Lancashire’s long serving scorer until shortly before his death in September 2014.
Mike Watkinson: An England all rounder was Lancashire director of cricket and now has a similar role at Manchester Grammar School.
Chris Schofield: Former England spinner is now working as a coach for the Cricket Asylum.
Jimmy Anderson: The England fast bowler is his country’s leading Test wicket taker of all time and is still plying his trade for Lancashire.
Alec Swann: The batsman brother of Graeme went into the media and is head of editorial planning and production at The Cricketer.
Jamie Haynes: A wicket keeper batsman is now living in Canberra, Australia, where he works as a project manager for government defence agency DMO.
Mark Chilton: A batsman who retired in 2011 when he became director of cricket at Manchester Grammar School and is also now coaching at Old Trafford.
Craig Smith: The physio went onto run his own practice in Nottingham and Cape Town where he is now based.
Darrin White: The long standing 2nd XI scorer replaced Alan West as 1st XI scorer and has also scored for England.
Gary Keedy: Yorkshire-born left-arm orthodox spinner who retired in September 2015. Works as a coach and physio for Nottinghamshire CCC as well as a private practice in Chorley.
Gary Yates: Spinner who became 2nd XI coach and is now the counties assistant coach and academy director.
Peter Martin: Eight Test England pace bowler earns a living as a bowling coach, corporate trainer and he has also been a commercial artist since 1997.
Warren Hegg: Wicketkeeper who returned to Old Trafford in a corporate sales and sponsorship role after retiring. Is now business development manager.
Andrew Flintoff: The England all rounder now works in the media and also has his own clothing range.
Stuart Law: The Australian batsman went into coaching and has coached Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and in April 2016 was appointed Australia’s batting coach.
Glen Chapple: Pace bowling all-rounder, who played one ODI for England, is still at Lancashire and is Ashley Giles right-hand man on the coaching staff.
Carl Hooper: West Indian all rounder lived and coached in Adelaide and has been batting coach for the Sagicor high performance centre. Has also coached in the CPL.
This piece originally featured in The Cricket Paper, Friday June 17 2016
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