Birmingham and District Premier League
The Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest club cricket league in the world, formed in 1888. It was the first ECB Premier League, being designated such in 1998, and is one of the strongest of the ECB Premier Leagues.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 ECB Premier League
- 4 Clubs for 2019
- 5 Champions from 1889
- 6 Performance by season from 1998
- 7 1000 runs in a season
- 8 National Knockout
- 9 Famous players, and B&DPCL Club(s) represented
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The Birmingham League traditionally covered North Worcestershire, South Staffordshire and North Warwickshire, much of which is now the conurbation of the West Midlands. Since 1998, with the introduction of the ECB Premier Leagues, the pyramid system, and feeder leagues in the four counties (Shropshire Premier Cricket League, Staffordshire Club Cricket Championship, Warwickshire Cricket League and Worcestershire County Cricket League), the catchment of the league has spread to include the whole of Shropshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, as well as a large part of Staffordshire, although North Staffordshire clubs play in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League. Herefordshire clubs, who play in the Worcestershire County Cricket League, can also be promoted into the league.
The Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest club competition in the world, beginning league matches in 1888. The Birmingham and District Cricket Association had actually formed eight years earlier in 1880, but only ran a successful, if not controversial, cup competition for those first few years. On Friday 30 November 1888, representatives from local cricket clubs gathered at the Queen's Arms Hotel, Easy Row, Birmingham and went about setting up the first ever Club Cricket League, being inspired by the success The Birmingham County Football Association had had in organising local football competition and fixtures. With some representatives needing to consult their own committees before pledging their commitment to the league, and one or two prominent local clubs not being present, it wasn't until a second meeting on Friday 14 December 1888 that the league was actually, officially formed. There were initially seven clubs who decided to trial the league format the following season. They were:
Those early days saw many changes in the league's club make-up:
Kings Heath moved to "The Reddings" Ground, joining with Moseley Cricket Club (and taking on that name). Another Kings Heath Club was formed later, but never became part of the Birmingham League set-up until the restructuring of Midlands Club cricket in 1998. Salters Cricket Club who played in Roebuck Lane, West Bromwich, and originated from the Spring Works of the same name, resigned from the league after just one season. In 1890, Wednesbury Cricket Club joined the league. In 1891, Smethwick Cricket Club, who had been involved in the Birmingham and District Cricket Association Cup competition in the 1880s, entered the league. Mitchells Cricket Club left the league between 1892 and 1896, due to some friction surrounding ineligible players, but shortly after they returned, they became Mitchells and Butlers Cricket Club when the two breweries amalgamated in 1898. In 1892, Small Heath Cricket Club joined the league and although their ground was amongst the best in the competition, the club was out of its depth in other aspects, and they resigned from the league 3 years later. In 1894, Warwickshire County Cricket Club entered the league after years of deliberation, but withdrew again in 1895 after being admitted to the County Championship. Over the next few years, the league's influence moved to the west, with Dudley Cricket Club joining the League in 1893, Stourbridge in 1894 and Kidderminster in 1895. Handsworth Wood who had performed creditably in the league until their Browne's Green ground was acquired by developers shortly after the First World War, spent one season playing at the County Ground, Edgbaston, but when no new ground could be found the following season either, they lost a narrow motion by the league (by one vote), and Old Hill Cricket Club replaced them in 1920. The Handsworth Wood Club folded shortly afterwards, handing their cash balance over to the league benevolent fund.
The second XI competition, perhaps stronger than any of the lower level 1st XI competitions which existed in the region until the restructuring of 1998, was formed in 1893.
The league was suspended for the First World War between 1914 and 1918, but continued to play through the Second World War, and the League, now comprising 10 clubs (Aston Unity, Dudley, Kidderminster, Mitchells and Butlers, Moseley, Old Hill, Smethwick, Stourbridge, Walsall, West Bromwich Dartmouth), stayed the same until 1975. In 1975, the league expanded again as Warwickshire and Worcestershire decided the strength of the league could be utilised. Warwickshire entered a 1st and 2nd XI (basically a 1st/2nd team side and a 2nd/colts side), whilst Worcestershire only entered a 1st XI and Duport Cricket Club (A Dudley-based Furniture making company club) played their 2nd XI fixtures. Whilst Warwickshire established themselves in the competition and won it on a few occasions, Worcestershire struggled, and two years later, Duport took on their 1st XI fixtures too, as they were forced to pull out of the league. Duport also struggled with the on-field standards, and when less support from the company's Social Club was reduced they too were forced to pull out of the competition, and were replaced by another Worcester-based side in 1982, Worcester City. Many other changes took place in the league throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and they are summarised below:
|Year||Outgoing Club||Reason||Incoming Club|
|1977||Worcestershire||Struggled to field sides due to small County staff||Duport|
|1982||Duport||Works Social Club decreased funding and club struggled with the standard of cricket||Worcester City|
|1985||Dudley||Ground caved in and club was forced to fold||Coventry and North Warwicks|
|1990||Warwickshire||Struggled to commit to League cricket with increased County 2nd XI programme||Wolverhampton|
|1992||Worcester City||Club folded||Stratford|
|1995||Mitchells and Butlers||Brewery decided to sell off ground so club folded||Barnt Green|
ECB Premier League
Since being designated an ECB Premier League in 1998 (the first Premier Cricket League in the Country), several changes have occurred in the league's structure. Initially, the 12 clubs in the old Birmingham League made up the Premier Division, and a First Division, Second Division East and Second Division West were made up from clubs in the old Midlands Combined Counties League, the Worcestershire League, the Warwickshire League and the Staffs League. The Second Division East and Second Division West were then replaced by a Second Division and a Third Division, but these divisions were abolished after the 2018 season and the league reduced in size to two divisions. Only one club was promoted in the first year of the new structure, which was Cannock while Aston Unity, a founder member of the league, were the first club to be relegated. Since 1999, two clubs have been relegated and two promoted each season.
Clubs for 2019
For the 2019 season, the clubs in the Premier Division are Barnt Green, Berkswell, Dorridge, Kenilworth Wardens, Kidderminster, Knowle and Dorridge, Moseley, Shifnal, Shrewsbury, Smethwick, Walsall, and West Bromwich Dartmouth.
Across the two divisions, the league currently includes:
7 Warwickshire clubs (Berkswell, Dorridge, Harborne, Kenilworth Wardens, Knowle and Dorridge, Leamington, Moseley)
6 Staffordshire clubs (Himley, Smethwick, Tamworth, Walsall, West Bromwich Dartmouth, Wolverhampton)
6 Worcestershire clubs (Barnards Green, Barnt Green, Bromsgrove, Halesowen, Kidderminster, Ombersley)
4 Shropshire clubs (Bridgnorth, Oswestry, Shifnal, Shrewsbury)
1 Herefordshire club (Brockhampton)
Champions from 1889
- * – denotes a shared title
Of those clubs still in membership of the league, Moseley and Walsall have both won the 1st XI Division 1/Premier Division title outright 18 times and have had 3 shared titles, West Bromwich Dartmouth 17 outright & 2 shared, Kidderminster 8 & 2 shared, Barnt Green 4, Old Hill 4, Shrewsbury 3, Stourbridge 3, Knowle and Dorridge 2, Smethwick 2, Wellington 2, Wolverhampton 2, Berkswell 2, Coventry and North Warwickshire 1, Halesowen 1, Stratford upon Avon 1.
Of those clubs that are no longer in membership of the league, Mitchells & Butlers won the title outright 8 times and had 2 shared titles, Aston Unity 6 times & 3 shared, Dudley 6 times & 2 shared, Handsworth Wood 4 & 1 shared, Warwickshire 3, and Cannock 1.
Performance by season from 1998
|Coventry & North Warwicks||8||?||6||10||10||10||7||7||8||12|
|Knowle and Dorridge||4||7||3||3||6||7||2||3||1||2||5||10||3||5||3||4||1||2||x|
|Stratford upon Avon||6||?||2||1||11|
|West Bromwich Dartmouth||3||?||9||11||9||4||2||6||11||10||9||9||1||5||9||6||3||x|
- ^1 — Kidderminster were called Kidderminster Victoria until 2015
1000 runs in a season
Although there have been many notable feats throughout the league's history, one of the most difficult achievements for a batsman is to score over 1000 runs in a club league season. Only fourteen players have ever managed it in the top division of the Birmingham League, one of them twice:
|Alan Townsend||Mitchells and Butlers||1961||1106|
|Alan Townsend||Mitchells and Butlers||1970||1008|
|Colin Price||Aston Unity||1975||1093|
|Doug Slade||West Bromwich Dartmouth||1978||1407|
|Jonathan Wright||Old Hill||1993||1006|
|Andy Flower||West Bromwich Dartmouth||1995||1018|
|Grant Flower||Barnt Green||1995||1024|
|Kadeer Ali||West Bromwich Dartmouth||2015||1079|
|Alex Keath||Knowle and Dorridge||2015||1036|
|George Worker||Knowle and Dorridge||2017||1569|
The Birmingham and District Cricket League's strength as a competition has been proven throughout the years, by the presence of its clubs in the latter stages of the ECB National Club Cricket Championship (a cup Competition for all Clubs in the UK). Here are a list of clubs in the league structure who have won or been runners-up in the competition:
|Wolverhampton||1973||The Mote (Kent)||Winners|
|Moseley||1980||Gosport Borough (Hampshire)||Winners|
|Shrewsbury||1983||Hastings and St Leonards Priory (Sussex)||Winners|
|Old Hill||1984||Bishop's Stortford (Hertfordshire)||Winners|
|Old Hill||1985||Reading (Berkshire)||Winners|
|Old Hill||1987||Teddington (Middlesex)||Winners|
|Old Hill||1989||Teddington (Middlesex)||Runners-up(replay)|
|Old Hill||1993||West Bromwich Dartmouth (Staffordshire)||Winners|
|West Bromwich Dartmouth||1993||Old Hill (Staffordshire)||Runners-up|
|Barnt Green||2002||Saffron Walden (Essex)||Runners-up|
|Barnt Green||2005||Horsham (Sussex)||Runners-up|
|Shrewsbury||2011||Cambridge Granta (Cambridgeshire)||Winners|
Famous players, and B&DPCL Club(s) represented
Many well known international players have played in the Birmingham League over the years:
ICC Full Member Nations
- Greg Matthews Old Hill
- Tom Moody
- Simon O'Donnell
- Chris Rogers Wellington
- Steve Waugh Smethwick
- Graham Yallop Walsall
- Peter Carlstein Old Hill
- Allan Donald Knowle & Dorridge
- Clive Eksteen
- JP Fellows-Smith West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Anthonie Ferreira (Unofficial)
- Claude Henderson
- Ryan McLaren Knowle & Dorridge
- Brian McMillan
- Hugh Page (Unofficial)
- Sid Pegler
- Roy Pienaar Kidderminster
- Dewald Pretorius Moseley
- Mike Rindel Smethwick, West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Herbie Taylor
- Thami Tsolekile Coventry & North Warwickshire
- Fabian Allen Worcester
- Colin Croft
- George Headley
- Ron Headley Dudley, Old Hill
- Vanburn Holder West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Alvin Kallicharan
- Collis King
- Frank King West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Lincoln Roberts Himley
- Alfred Scott West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Phil Simmons Wellington
- Dwayne Smith Kington
- Alf Valentine
- Ian Butler Harborne
- Stewie Dempster
- Martin Donnelly
- Jamie How Walsall
- Warren Lees
- Bill Merritt
- Michael Papps Walsall
- John Parker Kidderminster
- Dipak Patel Dudley, West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Barry Sinclair
- Don Taylor West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Glenn Turner Stourbridge
- Roger Twose West Bromwich Dartmouth
- George Worker Knowle & Dorridge
- Azhar Mahmood Smethwick
- Imran Khan
- Mohammad Akram Smethwick
- Mohammad Yousuf Smethwick, Evesham
- Mushtaq Mohammad Old Hill
- Saqlain Mushtaq Evesham
- Sadiq Mohammad
- Shahid Saeed Evesham
- Shoaib Akhtar Berkswell
- Wasim Akram Smethwick
- Dinusha Fernando Brockhampton
- Somachandra de Silva West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Champaka Ramanayake West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Malinda Warnapura Halesowen
- Tendai Chisoro Fordhouses
- Dion Ebrahim West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Andy Flower West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Grant Flower Barnt Green
- Travis Friend Knowle & Dorridge
- Trevor Garwe Wellington
- David Houghton West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Dougie Marillier Bedworth, Kenilworth Wardens
- Gus Mackay Barnt Green, West Bromwich Dartmouth
- Mpumelelo "Pommie" Mbangwa Coventry & North Warwickshire
- Waddington Mwayenga Worcester
- Edward Rainsford Berkswell
- Paul Strang
- Tatenda Taibu Worcester
- Mark Vermeulen Fordhouses
- Dirk Viljoen Barnt Green
- Enamul Haque Jr Wolverhampton
Ireland (& England)
- Boyd Rankin Moseley
ICC Associate Nations
- Davis, Alex E (1988). First in the field: the history of the world's first cricket league: the Birmingham and District Cricket League, formed 1888. Brewin Books. ISBN 0-947731-34-2.
- Birmingham and District Cricket League 1999 Handbook
- Club Cricket Yearbook 2006
- Club Cricket Yearbook 2006
- "Premier Division - 2002: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2003: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2004: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2005: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2006: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2007: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2008: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2009: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2010: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2011: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2012: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2013: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2014: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2015: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2016: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2017: Table".
- "Premier Division - 2018: Table".