Cricket in England and Wales
Cricket in England and Wales is governed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which is based at Lord's in St John's Wood, north London. The ECB administers the main domestic competitions, such as the County Cricket Championship, and directs the England international team.
First-class counties and other teams
The County Championship is the primary first-class competition in England and Wales and is contested by 18 county clubs:
Other long-established clubs which play non-competitive first-class cricket include:
Former first-class teams
There have been numerous defunct clubs and ad hoc teams over a period of some 300 years which have been officially or retrospectively recognised as first-class. Among the more famous were:
- Duke of Dorset's XI
- Sir William Gage's XI
- Leicestershire & Rutland
- Sir Horatio Mann's XI
- 2nd Duke of Richmond's XI
- Edwin Stead's XI
- White Conduit Club
- Earl of Winchilsea's XI
- All-England Eleven (AEE)
- The Bs
- Cambridge Town Club
- I Zingari
- Liverpool and District
- United All-England Eleven (UEE)
- United North of England Eleven (UNEE)
- United South of England Eleven (USEE)
- Sir Julien Cahn's XI
- Combined Services
- Free Foresters
- London County
- T. N. Pearce's XI
- Royal Navy
- Royal Air Force
The Minor Counties Championship, administered by the Minor Counties Cricket Association (MCCA), is for county clubs whose teams are rated second-class, although some have played first-class cricket in the past under the auspices of earlier county organisations (i.e., Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk).
For many years, the Second XI teams of several first-class counties took part in the Minor Counties Championship. In 1959, the Second XI Championship was created as a specialist competition for these teams although a few continued to play in the Minor Counties Championship and Somerset II was the last to leave in 1987. The Second XIs won a total of 24 titles from 1907 to 1971 (Lancashire II won seven, Yorkshire II five and Surrey II four).
Current members of the Minor Counties Championship are:
- Wales Minor Counties Cricket Club (Wales MCCC)
Wales MCCC is a special case as it is a Welsh national club that comprises all counties of Wales except for Glamorgan which has a first-class team playing in the County Championship. The Welsh counties include three former individual county teams who were briefly members of the Minor Counties Championship: Carmarthenshire (from 1908 to 1911); Denbighshire (from 1930 to 1935); and Monmouthshire (from 1901 to 1934).
There used to be a Channel Islands team which took part in the MCCA Knockout Trophy in 2001 and 2002 but it did not compete in the championship. The county of Huntingdonshire has had three county clubs, the current one formed in 1948, but its team has never played in any MCCA competition. It did, however, play in List A limited overs competitions from 1999 to 2003.
League cricket is organised at local level, usually within the bounds of one or two counties per league, the teams representing individual towns or parishes. Matches are completed in a single day's play, usually at weekends only. Standards of play and organisation are high and, historically, many great international players have taken part, usually as a club professional. The best leagues are traditionally in the north of England, especially the Bradford, Central Lancashire and Lancashire leagues. Since 1997, the ECB has established a group of leagues called the ECB Premier Leagues as part of a drive to increase standards of club cricket nationwide. Among the more famous of the local leagues are or have been: