Cricket is one of the most popular sports in England, and has been played since the 16th century. Marylebone Cricket Club, based at Lord's, developed the modern rules of play and conduct. The sport is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board and represented at an international level by the England men's team and England women's team. At a domestic level, teams are organised by county, competing in tournaments such as the County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup, T20 Blast and the Women's Twenty20 Cup. Recent developments include the introduction of a regional structure for women's cricket and the establishment of The Hundred for both men's and women's cricket. Recreational matches are organised on a regional basis, with the top level being the ECB Premier Leagues.

Cricket in England
Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, the spiritual home of cricket and one of the premier cricket grounds in England and Wales
Governing bodyEngland and Wales Cricket Board
National team(s)England (men's)
England (women's)
National competitions
International competitions

History edit

Domestic competitions edit

Yorkshire v Surrey at the Headingley Cricket Ground in Leeds in 2005

In men's cricket, there are eighteen professional county clubs,[1] seventeen of them in England and one in Wales. All eighteen counties are named after, and were originally representative of, historic counties. These clubs are heavily dependent on subsidies from the England and Wales Cricket Board, which makes its money from television and endorsement contracts and attendances at international matches. The English cricket season traditionally starts at the beginning of April and runs through to the second half of September although in recent years counties have played pre season friendly matches at the very end of March.[2]

Each summer the county clubs compete in the first class County Championship, which consists of two divisions and in which matches are played over four days. The same teams also play one day cricket in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and Twenty20 cricket in the Vitality T20 Blast.

The National Counties Cricket Championship is a season-long competition in England for county clubs that do not have first-class status. There are nineteen teams representing historic English counties along with a Welsh minor counties team.

Below the county game, there are a raft of club competitions organised on a regional basis. ECB Premier Leagues being the highest level. There are also non-ECB-affiliated leagues such as the Bradford Cricket League, the Lancashire League and the Central Lancashire League.

In women's cricket, 36 teams, mainly representing counties, currently compete in the Women's Twenty20 Cup. The Women's County Championship, a one-day competition, was also competed for by counties until it ended in 2019.[3] In 2016 the Women's Cricket Super League was established, a Twenty20 competition with six franchise teams. The Women's Cricket Super League was replaced in 2020 with a new regional domestic structure for women's cricket.[4] This included eight teams each representing a region of England and Wales, and competing in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy from 2020 and the Twenty20 Charlotte Edwards Cup from 2021.[5]

First-class counties edit

The eighteen first-class counties are the top level men's cricket teams. They are named after historic English counties and include one Welsh county, Glamorgan.[citation needed]

The English first-class counties are:

The full name of the cricket team is usually formed from the name of the county followed by the words County Cricket Club, which are often abbreviated as CCC.

Derbies edit

The following games are considered derbies:-

  • Roses Match – Yorkshire v Lancashire
  • Battle of London (Cross-Thames Derby) – Middlesex v Surrey
  • South Coast Special (El Clasicoast) – Hampshire v Sussex
  • West Midlands Derby – Warwickshire v Worcestershire
  • West Country Derby – Somerset v Gloucestershire
  • East Midlands Derby – Notts v Derbyshire
  • North Derby – Yorkshire v Durham

MCC edit

The opening first-class game of an English county cricket season has traditionally been played at Lord's between the MCC and the Champion County (the club that won the County Championship the previous year). When the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plays against one of the first-class counties, the game is granted first-class status.[citation needed]

University matches edit

Oxford and Cambridge universities played their first match against each other in 1827. After the advent of first class cricket, matches between Oxford and Cambridge, and between either of those two universities and another first class side, were considered first class matches, with the status applied retroactively to earlier matches. Counties started playing matches at other universities in the 1980s, the first being Nottinghamshire vs Durham University at The Racecourse in 1981, but these were not granted first class status.[6]

The first University Centre of Cricketing Excellence (UCCE) was established at Durham University by Graeme Fowler in 1996.[7][8] The success of the Durham centre led to it being adopted as a national model by the ECB in October 2000, with the establishment of six UCCE sides (two – Durham and Loughborough – based around a single university; the others bringing together players from multiple institutions) playing from 2001 in a two-day match competition with a final at Lord's. From 2001 the Oxford and Cambridge matches against the counties were no longer considered first class games, but each UCCE played three early-season matches against county sides, which acted as pre-season warm-ups for the counties,[9][10] and for Oxford, Cambridge and Durham UCCEs these were considered first class. Matches between counties and Loughborough UCCE were considered first class from 2003.[11]

The MCC took over funding of the scheme from 2005, and from 2010 the UCCEs were rebranded as MCC University (MCCU) teams.[12] A further re-arrangement in 2012 granted first-class status to all six MCCUs, but only for two of the three matches against county sides each season.[13]

The MCC ceased funding the programme in 2020, with the organisation transferring back to the ECB.[12] The matches between the MCCUs and counties, and the annual University Match between Oxford and Cambridge, were no longer considered first class matches after 2020.[14] No MCCU matches were played in 2020 due to COVID,[15] although the last first class Oxford-Cambridge match was played that September.

As of 2022, pre-season matches with first class counties are played under the name of "English University Matches" (according to the ECB website, although Wisden uses the term ECB University Matches), and Exeter has been added to the universities participating.[16][17] Both the ECB and Wisden list the university teams participating in these pre-season matches as MCCUs, but they compete in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) limited-over matches as UCCEs.[18] Inter-university matches outside of BUCS and the Oxford-Cambridge match have not, as of 2022, resumed after COVID.

The university teams that have played first-class cricket, the dates when they held that status, the universities they represented and the number of first class matches played are:[19]

Teams representing a single university:

a Date of earliest first class match listed on the Cricket Archive; formal first class status from 1895.
b Includes matches prior to 1895 regarded as first class by the Cricket Archive; see First-class cricket § Retrospective classification of matches played before the definitions.

Teams representing multiple universities:

a Date of earliest first class match listed on the Cricket Archive; formal first class status from 1895.
b Includes two matches prior to 1895 regarded as first class by the Cricket Archive; see First-class cricket § Retrospective classification of matches played before the definitions.

The Oxford and Cambridge Universities team played 18 first class matches against touring sides from 1839 to 1992, including two before official first class status started in 1895. The Combined Universities (British Universities from 1995) team, formed originally from Oxford and Cambridge but including other universities from 1987, played in the limited overs Benson & Hedges Cup from 1975 to 1998 and played 13 first class matches against touring sides from 1993 to 2006.[20][21] The MCC Universities team (formed from the six MCCUs) played various matches from 2007 to 2017, including entering the Second XI Championship from 2009 to 2017.[22]

Women's Domestic Regional Hubs edit

The eight women's teams represent "regional hubs" and are partnered with the counties in their region. Each team has at least six professionally contracted players.[23][24]

The Hundred edit

Originally scheduled to start in the 2020 season but postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hundred is a 100 ball cricket competition which consists of eight city-based franchise teams, each of which field both a men's and women's team, in a league format.[25]

Recreational club competitions edit

The ECB runs a national club knock-out competition, the ECB National Club Cricket Championship, and has in place a regional Premier League pyramid system for recreational club cricket in England and Wales.[citation needed]

Cricket grounds edit

The cricket grounds of England and Wales are smaller than the largest in some other countries, especially India and Australia, but the best of them have been modernised to a high standard, and two new international grounds have been built in recent years. The largest English cricket ground, Lord's in London, is internationally regarded as the "home of cricket".[26]

Test matches have been played at 24 grounds across the country. Five of these grounds have hosted both men's and women's Tests in their history: The Oval (South London), Old Trafford (Manchester), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), Headingley (Leeds) and Edgbaston (Birmingham).[27][28]

The other grounds to have hosted a Test match since 2010 are Sir Paul Getty's Ground (Wormsley Park), St Lawrence Ground (Canterbury), County Ground, Taunton, Bristol County Ground, Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), the Rose Bowl (Southampton) and Riverside Ground (Chester-le-Street).[27][28]

Governing body edit

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales.[29][30] It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA) and the Cricket Council.[31][32][33]

They are full members of the International Cricket Council.[34]

National teams edit

In men's cricket, England is a founding Test cricket, One Day International and Twenty20 nation. England played in the first ever Test match in 1877 (against Australia in Melbourne) and the first ever One Day International in 1971 (also against Australia in Melbourne).

Each summer foreign national teams visit England to play Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. In the British winter the England team tours abroad. The highest profile rival of the England cricket team is the Australian team, with which it competes for The Ashes, one of the most famous trophies in British sport.[35][36]

In women's cricket, England played in the first Women's Test series against Australia in 1934–35. They won the first Women's Cricket World Cup in 1973, and again in 1993, 2009 and 2017. They played in the first ever Twenty20 International for either gender, against New Zealand at Hove, and they won the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2009.[37][38]

Popularity edit

In 2005 the ECB concluded a commercial arrangement with BSkyB which gave Sky the exclusive television rights for live Test cricket in England for four years (the 2006 to 2009 seasons). This deal, which took live Test cricket for home England matches away from terrestrial television for the first time generated substantial future revenues for English cricket, but was criticised by many England cricket supporters and others.[39][40][41][42]

The Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year is an annual award voted by the Cricket Writers' Club for the best young cricket player in England and Wales, and has been awarded since 1950.[citation needed]

Cricket is also one of the most popular participation sports in England after football, rugby and tennis with most villages running a side every Sunday through the season, and towns putting out 2, 3, 4 and occasionally 5 sides for Saturday league matches, and 1 or 2 sides on a Sunday. According to the mid year 2020-21 Active Sport England survey an estimated 181,500 people play cricket at least twice a month, a 0.4% fall compared to the previous year.[43] Around 65% population of England follow Cricket.[44][45][46][47][48]

Bibliography edit

  • Malcolm, Dominic (2013). Globalizing Cricket Codification, Colonization and Contemporary Identities. Bloomsbury USA Academic. ISBN 978-1849665278.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Cricket News: Domestic List". Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  2. ^ Barney Ronay (26 March 2019). "Eight degrees and windy in Durham: the cricket season is here". The Guardian.
  3. ^ "ECB launches new plan to transform women's and girls' cricket". ECB. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Women's Super League kicks off … before all six teams are kicked out". The Guardian. 17 July 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  5. ^ "Women's cricket: Domestic fixtures confirmed for 2021 season". BBC Sport. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Notts win after rain". Palatinate. 18 June 1981. p. 11.
  7. ^ George Dobell (23 May 2015). "MCC changes prompt Graeme Fowler to step down". CricInfo. ESPN.
  8. ^ Vic Marks (30 June 2007). "How MCC money stumped Oxbridge". The Observer.
  9. ^ "MCC Universities". Archived from the original on 13 April 2014.
  10. ^ Giles Phillips. "A brief history of Cambridge University Cricket Club…". Cambridge University Cricket Club. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  11. ^ "Loughborough UCCE gains First Class status for 2003 cricket season". CricInfo. ESPN. 14 November 2002.
  12. ^ a b "ECB to resume university cricket funding". ECB. 17 May 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Cricket: Cardiff MCCU handed first-class status". Wales Online. 28 November 2011.
  14. ^ Derek Pringle. "The end of first-class university cricket". Wisden. ESPN. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  15. ^ "MCC looks back on 16 years of university cricket". MCC. 4 May 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  16. ^ "Tables". ECB. County > English University Matches 2022. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  17. ^ "ECB University Matches 2022". Wisden. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Cricket 21–22 Men's Premier (National)". BUCS. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  19. ^ Data from Cricket Archive
  22. ^ "Second Eleven Championship Matches played by Marylebone Cricket Club Universities". Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Women's regional hubs to play for Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy". the Cricketer. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  24. ^ "ECB fund sixth professional contract at each women's regional team". England and Wales Cricket Board. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  25. ^ "The Hundred team names, kits and badges revealed for the first time". Sky Sports. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  26. ^ "UK: What impact is climate change having on cricket?". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  27. ^ a b "Aggregate/overall records - Women's Test matches". Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  28. ^ a b "Aggregate/overall records - Test matches". Retrieved 27 November 2021.
  29. ^ "English Cricket's Crumbling Pyramid". 17 April 2015. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Resources" (PDF).
  31. ^ "ESPN and the England & Wales Cricket Board Sign Five-Year Agreement for Exclusive Rights in the Caribbean - ESPN MediaZone Caribbean". Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Protection memo" (PDF).
  33. ^ "National club strategy" (PDF).
  34. ^ "The battle for bronze". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  35. ^ "A short history of the Ashes". Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  36. ^ "What are the Ashes? Cricket's oldest rivalry explained - CBBC Newsround". Retrieved 6 November 2018 – via
  37. ^ "International Twenty20 cricket on the cards". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  38. ^ "Team Profile:England Women". CricketArchive. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  39. ^ "Cricket in Britain is under threat from its own success". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  40. ^ Lavalette, Tristan. "England's Radical Plan To Shorten Cricket Games". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  41. ^ Aarons, Ed (4 June 2017). "BBC delivery could restore England's cricket mania. But will it stump up? - Ed Aarons". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  42. ^ "Should Test Cricket be abrogated in light of the growing popularity of T20?". 21 May 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  43. ^ "Table 5a: Adults (aged 16+) who have taken part in sport and physical activity at least twice in the last 28 days". 21 October 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  44. ^ "Cricket Still Popular Among Young People, Insists ICC Chief". 31 May 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  45. ^ "The strange death of English cricket - The Spectator". 28 April 2018. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  46. ^ "Cricket is losing the popularity contest". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  47. ^ "The relationship between cricket and football, from the dark arts to the stranglehold of money". 14 September 2018. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  48. ^ ""Success breeds popularity – people want a piece of it": why women's cricket continues its rapid rise – Sports Gazette". Retrieved 2 November 2018.