There is a slope on the ground at Earby Cricket Club called Chapple Hill, in tribute to one of their former players. But although Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple spent several happy years at the Ribblesdale League club, it isn't named in his honour it's in honour of Mike, his dad!
“He played a bit like me,” said Chapple junior. “He opened the bowling and batted four in league cricket, he gave it a bit of a tap!
“My earliest cricketing memories are of him playing for Nelson when I was about three or four before he moved to Earby, which is where I played my first game when I was six. “He was a good player. He was with Yorkshire for a little bit but because he was born in Lancashire he wasn’t allowed to play for them, he was also offered a contract at Leicestershire but I don’t think the money was that good then so he was a pro in the leagues for around 10 years.
“He taught me how to play cricket, there were other people at Earby who helped out but he knew much more about the game than most.”
Glen, a former pupil of West Craven High School in Barnoldswick, stayed with Earby until he was 17 before turning pro with Bolton League club Kearsley. But he has been a regular at Old Trafford since he was 11 when he was taken down to train with Lancashire under-13s by respected coach Jim Kenyon. He played second team cricket at the age of 16 and was in the first team two years later after finishing his A-levels.
He has four winners’ medals from Lord’s finals under his belt, helped the club to second place in the Championship too many times to mention and, now in his 18th season, Chappie is still one of the top performers in county cricket .
“I never thought being a professional cricketer was realistic until I was around 16,” explained 35-year-old Chapple. “I used to watch games on TV thinking they were amazing and it was so far away from what I was doing at the time. I think it is different now with the Academy set up.
“But I was lucky enough to play in the first team at 18 and win my cap at 20. Moments sometimes crop up in people’s careers when they are out of the team and they think they might have to move on, but I am one of the lucky ones, I have never wanted to leave here, not once, and I hope I never will.”
Even though Chapple was born in Skipton, Yorkshire, when it comes to cricket, he is Lancashire through and through.
“I am a Yorkshireman because I was born there, I even used to watch Yorkshire now and again as a kid,” said Chapple. “But in terms of my pro career I am a Lancastrian and I have loved every minute of it here.”
Having experienced the highs of winning trophies with the county in the 90’s, Chapple would love nothing more than to bring silverware back to the club as skipper.
“The captaincy is not something I aspired to do,” he said. “I just wanted to get on with my cricket and never went after the job. “But after Stuart Law left the time just felt right. It is a massive honour and I am loving it.
“Winning the trophies in the 90's was terrific, probably the highlight of my career here so far, but I am hoping the best is yet to come.”
Glen spoke to Chris Ostick - Deputy Sports Editor, Manchester Evening News
Photos of Glen at Wycoller Country Park by Phil Garlington
(c) Lancashire CCC Ltd