Lancashire League (cricket)

Lancashire League (cricket)

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.


The Lancashire Cricket League was formed on March 16, 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. 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. [ See The Conquering Hero. The Story of the Lancashire League 1892-1992. Edmundsen, D; ISBN 0 9519499 0 X ]

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 Mathew Brown, later E.W.Cartons, and currently Sponsorbank.

The Lancashire League has always been a 14 club league but has only ever had 16 clubs play in it. In the late 1800s Todmorden left to be replaced by Bury but later came back and replaced Bury. In 2007 Edenfield entered the 20/20 Cup but didn't compete in any other competition.

enior Competitions

1st XI League

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 a minimum of 25 overs. The method for working out reduced targets is to take 3/4 of the run rate off the first innings score for every over that is lost in the second innings. The second innings can be less than 25 overs as long as there were more than 25 overs bowled in the first innings and the team batting second believe they can chase the full total posted in the first innings. If the team batting second get the full total then they win. If the team bowling second get the team batting second all out 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 5 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. There are no bowlers restrictions with the exception that fast bowlers who are:- U19s can only bowl 7 overs in a spell before having to take a 14 over break, U17s can only bowl 6 overs in a spell before having to take a 12 over break, U15s can only bowl 5 overs in a spell before having to take a 10 over break, U13s can only bowl 4 overs in a spell before having to take an 8 over break and U11s can only bowl 3 overs in a spell before having to take a 6 over break. This applys to every Lancashire League tournament. All U18s have to wear a helmet when batting and when standing up to the stumps wicketkeeping. Again this applys to all tournaments.

Worsley Cup

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 only bowl a maximum of 10 overs.

Ron Singleton Colne Trophy

The League winner plays the Worsley Cup winner in this competition. It is played on the Saturday before the League starts. It is played to the same match rules as the Worsley Cup except overs are deducted for bad weather. The Colne Trophy has to be a minimum of 25 overs. If the game cannot be completed then the trophy is shared.

20/20 Cup

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 overall run rate) go through to the semi-final. In the group stage each team plays each other team once making for 4 matches. 3 points are awarded for a win. There are no tied games. If a game is tied the team losing the least wickets win. If both teams lose the same amount of wickets the team with the best runs per wicket rate after 10 overs win. If this is equal then after 5 overs. All games have to be a minimum of 10 overs and any game that cannot be completed goes to a bowl out. If the wicket is not suitable for a bowl out the game is decided by the toss of a coin. 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 inaugral 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 only bowl a maximum of 4 overs.

2nd XI League

Same rules as the 1st XI League except no games are replayed and bowlers can only bowl a maximum of 14 overs.

Lancashire Telegraph Cup

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

Each team plays each other team once with a 7:6 or 6:7 split of home matches to away matches making a total of 13 games. If the 1st XI are at home when the 3rd XI are supposed to be playing at home the 3rd XI will play away from home. Games start out as 46 over matches but if rain intervenes they can be a minimum of 23 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 23 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. There are 4 reserve dates for games that couldn't be played because both teams' 1st XI were at home. 4 points are awarded for a win, 2 points for a tie or no result and 1 point for bowling the opposition out. Bowlers can only bowl a maximum of 10 overs.

The Professionals

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, Sydney Barnes, Chris Cairns, Sir Learie Constantine, Kapil Dev, Bruce Dooland, Charlie Griffith, Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall, Roger Harper, Chris Harris, George Headley, Michael Holding, Clive Lloyd, Charlie Llewellyn, Manny Martindale, Cec Pepper, Viv Richards, Andy Roberts, Fred Root, George Tribe, Shane Warne, Chester Watson, Steve Waugh, Murali Kartik, Jason Gillespie, Allan Donald, Lou Vincent, Nathan Astle, Andrew Hall, Jacques Rudolph, Peter Sleep and Everton Weekes to name but a few, have all made significant contributions to the Lancashire League. [ See The Conquering Hero. The Story of the Lancashire League 1892-1992.Edmundsen, D; ISBN 0 9519499 0 X ]

Beyond A Boundary

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. [ Beyond a Boundary; James, C.L.R.; Duke Univ. Press 1996 (1963); ISBN 0822313839]

2007 Trophy Roll Call

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

2008 Trophy Roll Call

1st XI Championship - Accrington
Worsley Cup - Accrington
20/20 Cup - East Lancashire
Ron Singleton Colne Trophy - East Lancashire
2nd XI Championship - Nelson
Lancashire Telegraph Cup - Nelson
3rd XI Championship - Haslingden


External links

* [ Lancashire League website]

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