Lancashire League (cricket)

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The Lancashire League is a competitive league of local cricket clubs drawn from the small to middle-sized mill towns, mainly but not exclusively, of East Lancashire. Its real importance is probably due to the history of employing professional players of international standing to play in the League.

History[edit]

The Lancashire Cricket League was formed on 16 March 1892, growing from the North East Cricket League that had been formed 17 months earlier. Currently in membership are Accrington CC, Bacup CC, Burnley CC, Church CC, Colne CC, East Lancashire CC, Enfield CC, Haslingden CC, Lowerhouse CC, Nelson CC, Ramsbottom CC, Rawtenstall CC, Rishton CC, and Todmorden CC (actually in Yorkshire). In the early years Bury CC were also members but they withdrew after participating for just two seasons.

The early 1890s saw the sudden emergence of cricket leagues all over Lancashire, with the first in 1888 ‑ the Bolton Association. The North Lancashire League and the Central Lancashire League all started the same year as the Lancashire League in 1892. The Football League had set a trend in season 1888‑89 and also had its heart in Lancashire, and with professionals and regular friendlies and local derbies, the leagues quickly became very popular institutions, with games played at weekends when working people had rare leisure time.[1]

In the early years, until 1899, it was possible for each team to field two professionals, but this was restricted for the 1900 season to one professional. The League Centenary was celebrated in 1992, and in 1998 a major exhibition about the League was mounted by Horse and Bamboo Theatre at their Centre with the involvement of the author Ron Freethy.

In 1981 the name was amended to include the name of a sponsor, initially Blackburn brewer Matthew Brown, later E.W.Cartons and Sponsorbank, among others, and currently Fosters.

The Lancashire League in its first season of 1892 consisted of only 13 clubs (the 14 current members minus Todmorden) before Bury played in 1893 and 1894 to give the league 14 clubs. Bury left for the 1895 season before Todmorden joined in 1897. The membership of the league has not changed since. In addition Edenfield have entered the 20/20 Cup since 2007 but have not entered any other Lancashire League competition.

Senior Competitions[edit]

1st XI League[edit]

Each team plays each other team twice, once at home and once away making a total of 26 matches. Games start out as 50 over matches but if rain affects play they can be reduced to a minimum of 20 overs. The method for working out reduced targets is to take 3/4 of the first innings run rate off the first innings score for every over that is lost in the second innings. One over is lost for every 7 minutes in the first innings and every 3½ minutes in the second innings. The second innings can be less than 20 overs as long as there were more than 20 overs bowled in the first innings and the team batting second believe they can chase the full total posted in the first innings or the team bowling second believe they can bowl their opponents out in the allocated overs. If the team batting second get the full total then they win. If the team bowling second bowl out the team batting second then they win. If neither team does this then it is a No Result. For example Lowerhouse scored 124–7 off their allocated 31 overs. Nelson opted to chase 125 for victory off 12 overs. They ended up on 82–7 so neither team won and it was a no result. There are three dates used to replay abandoned matches. 10 points are awarded for a win, 7 points for a tie, 3 points for a no result and 2 points for bowling the opposition out. Up to 5 bonus points are then awarded to the team who lost. If the team that lost bowled second they get 1-point for 5 wickets, 2 for 6 wickets, 3 for 7 wickets, 4 for 8 wickets and 5 for 9 wickets. If they batted second they get 1-point for being within 50 runs, 2 points for being within 40 runs, 3 points for being within 30 runs, 4 points for being within 20 runs and 5 points for being within 10 runs. 1 point is deducted for slow over rate in an innings of more than 40 overs. One over is expected to be bowled in 3¾ minutes. One bowler may bowl up to 17 overs while no other bowlers may bowl more than 14 overs.

Worsley Cup[edit]

Every club in the league competes in this knockout tournament with 2 teams being given a random bye to the 2nd Round. There are 4 rounds. All games have to be 50 overs and if not completed on the given date have to be continued on weeknights or if still in the first innings the following Saturday. The first game is generally played on a Sunday and the reserve date is always a Saturday. Bowlers can bowl no more than 10 overs.

Ron Singleton Colne Trophy[edit]

The League winner plays the Worsley Cup winner in this competition. If a team wins both competitions then the Double winners play the team that finished second the previous year. It is played on the Saturday before the League starts. It is played to the same match rules as the Worsley Cup except that overs are deducted for bad weather. The Colne Trophy has to be a minimum of 20 overs. If the game cannot be completed then the trophy is shared.

20/20 Cup[edit]

Every club in the league plus Edenfield play in this tournament. There are 3 geographical groups of 5 and the top club from each group plus the best runner-up (decided by points then net run rate) go through to the semi-final. In the group stage each team plays each other team once making for 4 matches. 2 points are awarded for a win and 1 point for a tie. Each team must face a minimum of five overs for a game to be valid. The method for working out reduced targets is to subtract the full run rate for every over lost in the second innings. Games are played mainly on a Friday night but are occasionally played on a Thursday night. Teams can play in colours if they wish. In Group A (the Blackburn area group) are Accrington, Church, East Lancs, Enfield and Rishton. In Group B (the Rossendale Valley group) are Bacup, Edenfield, Haslingden, Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall. In Group C (the Burnley and Yorkshire area group) are Burnley, Colne, Lowerhouse, Nelson and Todmorden. In the Cup's inaugural year it was a knockout tournament involving 12 clubs as Enfield and Todmorden did not compete. In 2006 it was a 14 club tournament with the same format as today except the Rossendale Valley group only had 4 clubs in it. Edenfield joined the Cup in 2007 to give the Rossendale Valley group 5 clubs. Bowlers can bowl no more than 4 overs. Penalty runs are awarded for slow over rate.

2nd XI League[edit]

Same rules as the 1st XI League except that no games are replayed and no bowler may bowl more than 14 overs.

Lancashire Telegraph Cup[edit]

All 2nd XIs enter. Same rules as the Worsley Cup with the 1st Round being the reverse fixtures of the Worsley Cup 1st Round. Games are played on the same date as the Worsley Cup with the exception that the Cup final is played the week before the Worsley Cup final.

3rd XI League[edit]

Currently only 13 clubs play in the 3rd XI League after Todmorden withdrew for the 2013 season. Games start out as 46 over matches but if rain intervenes they can be reduced to a minimum of 20 overs. The method for working out reduced targets is to reduce the full run rate for evey over lost in the second innings. Games can be less than 20 overs subject to the rules of the 1st XI League. The 3rd XI play on bank holidays, Worsley Cup dates and 1st XI league reserve dates. From the 2010 season the same points system as in the 1st and 2nd XI leagues are used. Bowlers may bowl no more than 10 overs.

The Professionals[edit]

The existence of the Lancashire League is a testament to local cricketers and their supporters, but the sheer quantity and quality of the professional cricketers that have been drawn to the milltowns of East Lancashire and the surrounding area is astonishing. Players from all over the world have come to live and play in the League: Dik Abed, Bill Alley, Nyron Asgarali, Nathan Astle, Sydney Barnes, Allan Border, Chris Cairns, Sir Learie Constantine, Kapil Dev, Allan Donald, Bruce Dooland, Roy Gilchrist, Denis Lillee, Trevor Chappell, Jason Gillespie, Kerry O'Keeffe, Charlie Griffith, Andrew Hall, Wes Hall, Roger Harper, Chris Harris, George Headley, Michael Holding, Murali Kartik, Charlie Llewellyn, Clive Lloyd, Manny Martindale, Cec Pepper, Viv Richards, Andy Roberts, Fred Root, Jacques Rudolph, Peter Sleep, George Tribe, Lou Vincent, Shane Warne, Chester Watson, Steve Waugh and Everton Weekes to name but a few.[1]

Beyond A Boundary[edit]

In C.L.R. James' autobiographical Beyond a Boundary, the Trinidadian writer writes about his visits as a young man to his friend Learie Constantine, at that time living in Nelson while playing as a professional for the town Lancashire League team. He gives a vivid sense of what it must have been like for a young West Indian to arrive in the wet and strange East Lancashire. He also describes how his subsequent education at university in Paris is helped by a local baker, and how his gradual politicisation is given a boost by meetings with local socialists, concerned with the harsh treatment and conditions suffered by the local working class millworkers. Although an extreme example, the meetings between other professional cricketers from the British Empire, and the mainly working-class amateurs of the Lancashire League, must have resulted in many other instances of mutual support and understanding.[2]

Honours[edit]

2013[edit]

1st XI Championship - Accrington
Worsley Cup - Burnley
Lancashire Knockout Cup - (Church, Enfield, Lowerhouse and Todmorden entered)
20/20 Cup - Lowerhouse
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy - Accrington
2nd XI Championship - Ramsbottom
Lancashire Telegraph Cup - Nelson
3rd XI Championship - Nelson

2012[edit]

1st XI Championship – Lowerhouse
Worsley Cup – Lowerhouse
Lancashire Knockout Cup – Bamford Fieldhouse (Saddleworth & District Cricket League) (Accrington, Church, Lowerhouse, Ramsbottom and Todmorden entered)
20/20 Cup – Ramsbottom
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Lowerhouse and Ramsbottom
2nd XI Championship – Haslingden
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Haslingden
3rd XI Championship – Enfield

2011[edit]

1st XI Championship – Lowerhouse
Worsley Cup – Ramsbottom
Lancashire Knockout Cup – Greenmount (Bolton Cricket League) (Colne, East Lancashire, Haslingden and Todmorden entered)
20/20 Cup – Ramsbottom
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Ramsbottom
2nd XI Championship – Nelson
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Ramsbottom
3rd XI Championship – Haslingden

2010[edit]

1st XI Championship – Ramsbottom
Worsley Cup – Colne
Lancashire Knockout Cup – Farnworth (Bolton Cricket League) (East Lancashire and Ramsbottom entered)
20/20 Cup – Ramsbottom
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Ramsbottom
2nd XI Championship – Church
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Church
3rd XI Championship – Enfield

2009[edit]

1st XI Championship – Accrington
Worsley Cup – Ramsbottom
Lancashire Knockout Cup – Bootle (Liverpool & District Cricket Competition) (Accrington, Lowerhouse and Nelson entered)
20/20 Cup – Burnley
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Todmorden
2nd XI Championship – Nelson
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Nelson
3rd XI Championship – Nelson

2008[edit]

1st XI Championship – Accrington
Worsley Cup – Accrington
Lancashire Knockout Cup – Walkden (Bolton Cricket League) (East Lancashire and Rawtenstall entered)
20/20 Cup – East Lancashire
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – East Lancashire
2nd XI Championship – Nelson
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Nelson
3rd XI Championship – Haslingden

2007[edit]

1st XI Championship – Rishton
Worsley Cup – East Lancashire
20/20 Cup – Enfield
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Burnley
2nd XI Championship – Ramsbottom
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Ramsbottom
3rd XI Championship – Nelson

2006[edit]

1st XI Championship – Burnley
Worsley Cup – Nelson
Inter League Club Challenge Trophy – East Lancashire
20/20 Cup – Rishton
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Ramsbottom
2nd XI Championship – Ramsbottom
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Ramsbottom
3rd XI Championship – Burnley

2005[edit]

1st XI Championship – Lowerhouse
Worsley Cup – Ramsbottom
Inter League Club Challenge Trophy – Littleborough (Central Lancashire League)
20/20 Cup – Haslingden
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy – Match abandoned
2nd XI Championship – Haslingden
Lancashire Telegraph Cup – Ramsbottom
3rd XI Championship – Haslingden

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Conquering Hero. The Story of the Lancashire League 1892–1992. Edmundsen, D; ISBN 0-9519499-0-X
  2. ^ Beyond a Boundary; James, C.L.R.; Duke Univ. Press 1996 (1963); ISBN 0-8223-1383-9

External links[edit]