Cricket, which is one of the most played sports, is also in the story of the great state of Leicestershire. Cricket has been played since the beginning of the sixteenth century in Leicestershire, with self-employed building-workers from cities like Hinckley and Loughborough taking some time off over the occasional game. In this article, we have talked about the history of Leicestershire County Cricket Club. So read and find out all the details.
It is documented that even a Leicester team played the Nottingham team in Loughborough in 1781. The Leicester Journal storey claims that when participants disputed about the game being played fairly, the match was discontinued, but it was not until 1789 that perhaps the teams were also confirmed to have played once more. The Leicester team have also played matches against all other squads, notably one from Coventry in Warwickshire.
The team was made up of the Rutland and Leicestershire Cricket Club. This could therefore be considered mostly as a precursor to the modern county team and has played games against all other early county sides and even the MCC.
Nevertheless, the early push wasn’t really maintained, probably because the quality of crickets played within midlands was nowhere near as good as in the south, where crickets have been played for many years on a competitive & top level.
Eventually, the Leicestershire and even the Rutland Cricket Club withered away, but no other county club was created until 1820. This Club played on the Wharf Street near the centre of Leicester until 1860 when the property was sold for construction, and the Club had to play throughout the town on other insufficient places but had no regular fixtures against another county.
Growing as the First Class County Cricket Club
The genuine foundations of a countryside for Leicestershire stretch back to 1877 whenever a business called Leicestershire Cricket Ground Co Ltd bought an estate on the southside of Leicester’s Grace Road and the following year has been able to use the property for cricket matches. The County Club rented the field and played a game for Australian tourists, bringing a big audience for three days.
These were established in 1879 as that of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club, but this was not permitted to join the counties “first class” until 1895.
An early concern for the team was that the location, around 2 miles south of the centre and its train station, was disadvantageous for fans of cricket who didn’t live close by. Thus, in 1901 that one was decided to move to Aylestone Road, which was significantly closer to the centre of Leicester and also close to other athletic venues on Filbert Street and Welford Road. The arrangement was maintained until the Club returned to Grace Road in 1946. Even though the amenities were substandard in what was then the permanent home of the Club, public transit much enhanced and also the growth to the South of Leicester ensured that even more spectators could easily reach the ground than before.
The Leicestershire CCC has never been a high flyer in terms of cricketing success in these early years. The county was reputed to produce stronger bowlers than batsmen, and so seldom a balanced side could’ve been offered. At that time, all-county teams recruited only locally, and Leicestershire, as just a dwindling farmer’s county of just one town of any size, just did not provide the staff to develop competitive sides.
The Era of 1960s
Throughout the 1960s, things were changing when Leicestershire CCC could lure two outstanding players to come and captain the team. These were Tony Lock, England’s Spin Bowler, and the All-Rounder, Ray Illingworth, who joined the Yorkshire county in 1969 and remained until 1978.
Help from Lock had such a lot to do with Leicestershire’s successful second position also at the 1967 Championship, giving the players a lack of self-confidence in the past.
But it was the arrival of Illingworth that made the actual impact. He had an established record as a Yorkshire player but had never had a countryside captain. He was now not the only captain of Leicestershire but also of England a month later, so, in both positions, he was remarkably successful.
This means that they had long hoped and never attained the one thing for Leicestershire CCC—the winning of silverware. It was not happening quickly, mainly because Illingworth’s England obligations made it impossible for too many county matches and partly because Leicestershire lost a second strong national all-rounder, Barry Knight.
In fact, and it wasn’t until 1972 that Leicestershire eventually succeeded in capturing the first Benson & Hedges Cup. They eventually came in second throughout the Sunday League at the John Player 40-over cricket tournament.
The Golden Period
This success began in the Golden Age of Leicestershire and won five trophies in five years, the highest point in 1975, only with Club’s achievements since 1895, notably the winner of the County Championship. They eventually won the second Benson and Hedges Cup.
One amongst Leicestershire’s star players at that time was Chris Balderstone, who won a unique feat within the finale of the 1975 season by finishing 51 not out at the final moment of the Chesterfield second day’s match, having to play Doncaster Rovers’ football in such an evening match, and then resuming the following day’s gigs at Chesterfield, wrapping up his century.
Leicestershire’s achievements in the 1980s were much more intermittent despite one more outstanding UK player, David Gower. Their only trophy throughout the decade had been in 1985 a third Benson & Hedges Cup.
Within the 1990s, things got better, specifically under the captaincy of James Whitaker, who had been asked for England testing tasks only once, but a good player. Twice more in 1996 and 1998, Leicestershire won the championship.
Decline of Leicestershire County Cricket Club
In recent times, the keys to the Grace Road trophy were not greatly sought after. During 2000, the County Championship was divided into two branches, and Leicestershire fell through into the lower branch in 2003. They have been around since then and finished in 2009. The lone highlight was the Twenty-20 night contest held in 2003, won twice by the Leicestershire Foxes in 2004 & 2006.
The current challenges of Leicestershire CCC are predominantly financial since they can retain flying players who are attracted to the bigger counties. This team, therefore, mostly consists of veteran players towards the finish of their careers and young local players, who really are promising but are unavoidably inexperienced and who may not have been prepared to engage on the countryside within the long run.
It remains to be seen whether Leicestershire CCC will ever return to its successful ways. Much hinges as to whether the young side could remain together and where the promise of current and previous internationals under 19 could be achieved.
So this was all about the history of Leicestershire County Cricket Club that you must know about. It can be said that the Club has a great past in the game of cricket which will be remembered till ages.