Again, another county that’s not the easiest to spell, and another county that has just simply not enjoyed a great deal of success, relatively speaking.
Tonight: Leicestershire. Also tonight: beer. Yes, I decide to finally imbibe while writing a post. I am also enjoying a replay of the first South Africa – Australia test from a few weeks past. All in all, a good head space to be in.
Leicestershire was formed in 1879, although records date cricket in the area as far back as 1776. They made their first class debut in 1894 and were admitted to the Championship the following year.
Unfortunately, and this just seems to keep being the case for county after county, it took many, many years for the club to finally win a county title. 80 years to be exact. Now, they did win two more in 1990s (’96 and ’98), as well as a couple Pro40 titles in 1974 and 1977 and a trio of t20 cups just in the last decade, most recently in 2011.
A quick note here on non-County Championship titles, or one day tournaments, as it is all very confusing. There is the Pro40, the FP40, the Sunday League, the Benson & Hedges Cup…and so on.
The Sunday League was also known as the NatWest Pro40, a 40 over competition featuring all 18 counties. It started in 1969 and was retired in 2009, replaced by the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition in 2010.
The FP40 has been around since 1963 and has also been known as the NatWest Trophy, the C&G Trophy, the Gillette Cup, and the Friends Provident Trophy. It featured all 18 counties plus teams from Ireland and Scotland. It was also replaced by the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition last season.
The CB 40 tournament was formed to consolidate the 40 over cricket cups into just one, as the evolution in popularity of t20 required a reduction in the number of matches required of the counties. It features all 18 counties PLUS national teams from Scotland and the Netherlands PLUS the Unicorns, which is a club made up of cricketers not under a current county contract.
Now, the Benson & Hedges Cup was held between 1972 and 2002 and it seems it was the red headed step child of the one day competitions in England. It changed formats several times over its 30 existence, and never quite reached the prestige of the other two cups. I will however, continue to count it among the titles won by the counties I post about, even thought Wikipedia does not.
Finally, there is the t20 competition. Which for now is rather straight forward.
Postscript: I am going to start using Wikipedia as the main source when it comes to titles won by a county, as Cricinfo’s write ups actually seem a bit obsolete on occasion.
Okay then, now back to Leicestershire.
It played its matches at Grace Road between 1877 and 1901, at which point they became rather nomadic, before finally returning to a refurbished ground in 1946.
Here’s the ground in 2007:
It seats 12,000 and has hosted several World Cup one day internationals.
Les Berry scored the most first class runs in the club’s history (30,143) while Ewart Astill took the the most first class wickets for them (2,131.) However the always trustworthy Sam Collins points his loyal readers to notable players such as Charles Palmer, a “small man with poor eyesight” who captained Leicestershire to third place in the Championship in 1953; and Tony Lock, the off spinner who captained them to second place in 1967.
James Whitaker, who only played one test and two ODIs for England but was a member of the 1986-987 Ashes winning side, played for Leicestshire his entire career (1983-1999), and was Leicestershire’s captain for the two county titles won in the 1990s.
Nowadays the side features internationals such as Matthew Hoggard and Abdul Razzaq.
Ladies and Gentlemen: the Foxes.
Not a great deal happening on the pitch, though test cricket is back in force tomorrow.
Until next time.