DateLine: 23rd April 2007
From the same Manchester Grammar School production line that produced Mike Atherton and John Crawley, amongst others, Chilton’s early career suggested similar potential.
Having represented England at differing schoolboy levels and Lancashire in the reserves it was for British Universities in the B&H cup (he was another product of the Durham University team) that he started to make his name.
In 1997 he took the man of the match award against Sussex with 5-26 and 34, before 1998 saw 4-28 against Surrey and then 54 against Gloucester and 56 against Kent. Subsequently that season he scored a crucial 41 for Lancashire in the NatWest quarter final against Nottinghamshire.
1999 saw him promoted to the first team as a regular at Lancashire subsequent hundreds against Cambridge University and Northants saw him finish the right side of 30 as his average that season.
Yet Chilton did not go onto achieve what was expected, for the next three seasons in first class cricket he failed to average above 30, although 2002 saw him amass 841 runs in all one day games, including 102 against Warwickshire in the B&H semi final.
Then in 2003 it was his first class form that shone as he hit 6 centuries and averaged over 50 to reward the belief placed in him by Lancashire, although again subsequent years have seen more average fare in the longer form of the game.
After Lancashire’s shock 2004 exit from Championship Division 1 Chilton was appointed captain and under his guidance the club took the 2005 division two title and reached the semi finals of the Twenty20 cup. 2006 saw mixed emotions as the side finished runners up to Sussex in the county championship and in the C&G final, where they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Though these were massive steps forward for the club, Chilton will be aware expectations are high and he will be expected to deliver silverware. However as captain it does seem he has found a niche in the game.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2007 John Dobson)
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