No doubt about it, Glen Chapple is a Lancashire great.
Going into the 2015 season, he has taken 975 first-class wickets for all teams, including the likes of England A and the Rest of England.
A captain of the club for six seasons, he has also won the Red Rose’s Player of the Year award three times and their County Championship Player of the Year award four times.
But the statistic that will please him most is that he has been a part of winning seven major trophies with Lancashire, most notably the Championship in 2011.
Chapple capped off a memorable 2011 with his most prolific first-class summer wickets-wise. The skipper led the Red Rose with 55 wickets – and 57 first-class in total – to claim the vote of the club’s fans for the Player of the Year award.
It was the second successive year that the veteran seam bowling all-rounder had claimed the award, which he first won in 2002.
Although Chapple admitted on stage that there were more worthy winners of the 2011 award than him, it was no real surprise that he claimed the honour after three hauls of five wickets or more in the 12 matches that he played.
On top of that, he battled through the pain barrier for the team cause on numerous occasions, most notably during the final week win against Somerset at Taunton after he suffered a suspected torn hamstring on day one.
Chapple debuted for Lancashire back in 1992, but shot to fame four years later when he claimed 6-18 to skittle Essex for just 57 to help win the NatWest Trophy at Lord’s.
Talismanic is the perfect way to describe the Skipton-born player, who has returned many a valuable contribution with the bat as well as the ball.
He was awarded the captaincy ahead of the 2009 season, just prior to the arrival of Peter Moores as the new coach. The pair formed a close bond, with the now England coach often hailing Chapple’s dedication to fitness and his desire to succeed.
Chapple, a one-time England one-day international in 2006, took on the captaincy when Stuart Law left Old Trafford despite refusing to describe himself a natural leader.
He claimed 87 first-class wickets in 2009 and 2010 combined, setting him up perfectly for his return in 2011, even though he missed four matches due to one injury or another.
Chapple, who had a benefit season in 2004, is part of an elite group of cricketers to pass 7,000 runs and 800 wickets for Lancashire, with Jack Simmons and Johnny Briggs being the only others to have done it.
Ironically his 800th wicket – Craig Meschede – came on the final day of the 2011 season at Taunton, while he also passed the 7,000 mark at the start of the summer.
He is still widely regarded as one of the unluckiest cricketers around not to have been given more England recognition.
His solitary cap came in an ODI against Ireland in 2006, although he was the odd man out of a Test squad earlier in his career and has been left out when provisional squads were cut down for a World Cup and World Twenty20 competition in 2007.
Right at the start of his career, it took him a while to claim the new ball on a regular basis. The presence of Phil DeFreitas and Wasim Akram meant he had to settle for a role of first-change.
When those two departed, he stepped up to form a devastating new ball alliance with Peter Martin.
Chapple’s first-class best haul of 7-53 came against Durham at Blackpool in 2007, contributing to best match figures of 10-86.
Along with winning the top award in 2002, 2010 and 2011, Chapple won the club’s Championship Player of the Year gong in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
He took 42 wickets and scored 381 runs in 2012, including a landmark display in the penultimate match of the season against Middlesex at Lord’s even though it was the fixture which secured Lancashire’s relegation.
He claimed the 35th and 36th five-wicket hauls of his career to confirm only a third ten-wicket match return. He finished with 5-86 in the first innings and 5-47 in the second to claim 10-133 from 46.5 overs.
With Lancashire going well in the CB40 – and injuries hitting the squad – Chapple also played seven matches – more than he has played in a season since 2009 – and took ten wickets, including four in one match and five in another. The latter display (5-26) during the win against Gloucestershire at Bristol was his most successful in List A cricket for almost 14 years.
Chapple also took nine wickets in six Twenty20 matches, including excellent figures of 2-10 against Leicestershire at Old Trafford.
In 2013, a season that was curtailed by injury late on, he passed 50 wickets yet again. He ended it with 53 from 14 matches, including two five-wicket hauls. One of those was a remarkable return of 5-9 as Essex were bowled out for a record 20 at Chelmsford in May.
2014 proved to be a frustrating one for Lancashire, who were relegated in the Championship for the second time in three seasons and narrowly missed out on T20 glory as losing finalists. For Chapple, it was an incredibly busy one.
He was given overall responsibility for first-team affairs when Moores departed to become England coach for a second time in April. He combined this with captaining and playing four-day cricket admirably, and oh so nearly carried his side to safety with a superb all-round display in the final match of the season against Middlesex, taking five wickets and hitting a crucial 45 not out – all with a broken finger.
At the end of the season, Ashley Giles was appointed as Lancashire’s new Head Coach and Director of Cricket, with Chapple officially appointed onto the club’s coaching staff.
He immediately stood down as captain ahead of 2015, but did not retire from playing. Should he be required, he will don the bowling boots, meaning he still has a chance of reaching 1,000 first-class career wickets.
Chapple was used sparingly in the 2015 season making his first appearance of the summer against Gloucestershire at Bristol and continues to take wickets regularly for the Red Rose. He’s main role now at Emirates Old Trafford is first-team coach although will still be registered as a player in 2016.