1000 Wins Not Enough

Published: 2021
Pages: 36
Author: Grime, Ken
Publisher: Max Books
Rating: 3.5 stars

After the truncated summer of 2020 in which it gave way to the Bob Willis Trophy, the County Championship returned in 2021. The familiar  and easy to understand two division format was gone however, and one of the helpful aspects of Ken Grimes’ 1000 Wins Not Enough is the couple of pages which provide the first readily understandable summary I have read of how the 2021 edition actually worked.

As the Championship campaign unfolded, all matches available to view online, what I did appreciate was that Lancashire were doing pretty well and, despite stalling somewhat as the season moved into September, what I certainly understood was that when the last game of the season began, against Hampshire at Aigburth, it was still possible that, if they achieved their one thousandth Championship victory, the Red Rose might lift its first title since 2011. If any additional spice were needed for the encounter by the same token the match was also crucial for the visitors, for whom victory would mean they would be champions.

The bulk of 1000 Wins Not Enough is concerned with that Hampshire game and, in the main, its remarkable final day. Lancashire were always going to be reliant on others if the title were to come the way of the Red Rose, and events at Aigburth became all the more compelling as Somerset put up a spirited fight at Edgbaston.

The Hampshire game started well as the home side dismissed the visitors for 143, only to be pegged back to 25-3 by the close of Day 1. It quickly got worse next day until veteran Stephen Croft, ably assisted by Luke Wood and Tom Bailey got Lancashire to 141. At one point in their second innings Hampshire were 24-4, but they couldn’t be rolled over as easily as we would have liked and early on the third day the target crystallised. To win and stand any chance of lifting the title Lancashire had to get the highest score of the match, 196.

Second time round Lancashire made a solid start, and at 177-5 the stress levels were slowly dissipating. There was then a collapse and when last man Matt Parkinson arrived in the middle the Red Rose were still two runs short and Mason Crane bowling beautifully. In the event Parkinson survived long enough for skipper Dane Vilas to hit the winning runs, and all eyes turned towards the following days events at Edgbaston.

Sadly it was not to be for Lancashire, but Grime’s account goes on to deal with those nail biting hours in the pavilion watching Warwickshire’s victory over Somerset unfolded. He also includes a number of quotes from the men involved, an extended appreciation of the much underrated Lancashire seamer Tom Bailey and a brief look back at previous fixtures between the Lancashire and Hampshire at Aigburth.

A large format A4 sized booklet 1000 Wins Not Enough is a well illustrated and very readable account of one of the matches that gives the County Championship the enduring appeal it has to so many. Individually numbered copies of a limited edition of 200 are available directly from the publisher for a very reasonable £8.50 inclusive of UK postage and packing.

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