Preston pace ace Tom Bailey is hoping to help fire Lancashire back to where he believes they belong next season.
he Red Rose county were relegated from the top division of the County Championship last week after failing to beat Middlesex in their final game of the campaign.
Glen Chapple’s men finished second from bottom and dropped to the second tier once more just a year after winning promotion.
If there is one bright spark of an otherwise disappointing summer for Lancashire, it is the emergence of fast bowler Bailey.
Chapple turned to the former Vernon Carus CC player towards the end of the season in a bid to halt their slide towards the drop.
Although Bailey could not prevent Lancashire’s subsequent relegation, he produced a number of promising displays after being handed a run of games.
In total he picked up six wickets in three matches, taking some notable scalps – including England one-day star Eoin Morgan and Australia opening batsman Chris Rogers.
The former Our Lady’s High School pupil also claimed seven victims in four one-day matches, including a best of 3-41 at Derbyshire.
Although he made his first-class debut two years ago against Surrey, in Liverpool, the 23-year-old star has had to remain patient since signing a scholarship with the county three years ago.
However, he believes he is now ready to spearhead Lancashire’s assault on the Second Division title next year. “I hope I can play a lot next season,” Bailey told the Evening Post.
“I think I am ready to play first-team cricket.
“It is up to me now to play well and put the performances together.
“I felt I did okay towards the end of the season but I was disappointed that we got relegated.
“To be honest, nobody really cared how they did on a personal level in the last match against Middlesex.
“All we cared about was winning that game of cricket and we were gutted that we didn’t do that.
“But I don’t see why we can’t bounce back straight away.
“The club has been in this situation before – we got relegated two years ago and came back up straight away.”
As a reward for his exploits over the course of the summer for the first and second teams, Bailey was named as Lancashire’s young player of the year.
“It was a bit of shock to be honest,” said Bailey. “I wasn’t expecting it.
“Obviously I was happy to take the award – it’s such a massive honour and there are lots of great players who have won it in the past.”
All-rounder Tom Smith, who is from Chorley, was presented with the club’s overall player and Championship player of the year award. Batsman Karl Brown was rated the club’s best one-day performer.