50 over game
|Tournament format||Four divisions|
|Number of teams||49|
|Most successful||Bradford, Pudsey St Lawrence (10 titles each)|
|Most runs||Richard Robinson (16,352)|
|Most wickets||David Batty (1,823)|
The Bradford Premier League (currently known as the Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League for sponsorship reasons) is an amateur cricket competition centred in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It has been described as "arguably England's strongest amateur competition.". This is despite most people being aware that top clubs have player wage bills in the 5 figure brackets.
The league is structured into four divisions. Many teams are from Bradford, with others from neighbouring towns across West Yorkshire.
The league was renamed the Bradford Premier League in 2016, upon the merger of the Bradford Cricket League and the Central Yorkshire League, and since 2016 it has been a designated ECB Premier League. Since 2016, the winners qualify to take part in the Yorkshire Championship, together with the winners of the Yorkshire Premier League North and the Yorkshire South Premier League, and the leading Yorkshire club in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cricket League. Hanging Heaton won the Yorkshire Championship in 2017, the only team from the Bradford League to do so thus far.
The teams in the Premier Division for 2020 were intended to be: Batley, Bradford and Bingley, Cleckheaton, Farsley, Hanging Heaton, Methley, Morley, New Farnley, Pudsey St Lawrence, Townville, Woodlands, and Wrenthorpe.
The 2020 competition was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A replacement competition was arranged for the later part of the season when cricket again became possible, but with its winners not to be regarded as official league champions.
The Bradford Cricket League was formed in 1903 with twelve clubs but only two (Undercliffe and Bankfoot) of the inaugural twelve are current members.
The first club to win the Bradford Cricket League was Shelf, in 1903, claiming their only League title. In total, the League has had twenty-six different winners of its top division. The most successful clubs are Bradford CC and Pudsey St Lawrence CC, with 10 titles each.
The turn of the century saw the domination of Pudsey Congs and Woodlands within the top division. Pudsey Congs won five consecutive titles between 2000 and 2004, and Woodlands won the following four titles.
In 2016, The Bradford Cricket League merged with the Central Yorkshire League to form the Bradford Premier League. Until then, the League had operated as two divisions, but this format was expanded to four divisions to accommodate the extra teams.
The League runs two cup competitions for the first and second teams of every club within the League. The first team competition is the Priestley Cup, which has been running since 1904, and the second team competition is the Priestley Shield, which has been running since 1913. Both the Cup and Shield are named for Sir William Priestley, who donated the presentation trophies for which the competitions are played.
The only club ever to have won the Cup three times in a row is East Bierley, who won in 1998, 1999 and 2000. However, the most successful club in the competition is Undercliffe, who have won it fourteen times.
The League competition is made up of fixtures of fifty overs per side, with each team playing the others in their division both home and away. The strength of the League and its players is in part assisted by the League management having an open policy on the payment of players and no particular limit on the number of professional players in each game. However, teams are limited to one overseas player. In 2008 some first division sides have fielded as many as six players with professional (first-class) credentials.
There are certain playing restrictions that apply to all League fixtures. Bowlers are limited to bowling a maximum of fifteen overs per innings, the fielding side's innings must be bowled within 3 hours 10 minutes (failure to do so results in a points penalty), and the fielding side must have four fieldsmen plus the wicketkeeper and bowler within a 30-yard fielding circle at the moment of delivery (failure to do so results in a no-ball being called).
Points are awarded as follows: 10 points for a win, 5 points to each side for a tie (scores level), 0 points for a loss, 5 points to each side for abandonment (no play), and 5 points to each side for an abandonment (with play, no win achieved). For all results, bar an abandonment with no play, teams can gain an added maximum of five bonus batting points and five bonus bowling points. Batting points are awarded as 1 point for scoring 125 runs, with an extra 1 point for every further 25 runs (to a maximum of 5 points), and bowling points are awarded as 1 point for every 2 wickets taken. As thus, the maximum number of points that can be gained from a game is 20.
Spectators at first XI matches are often required to pay for entry and a programme. The League management has, from 2008, capped the maximum charge at £3, with concessions at £1.50. Second XI matches are capped at a maximum of 25p for adults and 10p for children. All gate receipts are kept by the home club.
Many of the grounds in the League are quite small. This fact, combined with traditionally good groundskeeping and wickets prepared primarily for batting makes for an exciting blend of cricket popular with supporters.
|1915||Bowling Old Lane|
|1923||Bowling Old Lane|
|1924||Bowling Old Lane|
|1956||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1975||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1976||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1978||Bowling Old Lane|
|1979||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1984||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1985||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1990||Bradford and Bingley|
|1991||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|1992||Bradford and Bingley|
|1998||Bradford and Bingley|
|2015||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|2016||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|2018||Pudsey St Lawrence|
|2020||N/A (COVID-19 pandemic)|
|Bradford and Bingley||7||7||10||6|
|Pudsey St Lawrence||1||4||1||4|
Some of the more notable members include Leonard Hutton, who was a youngster at Pudsey St Lawrence and Jack Hobbs who played at Idle between 1915 and 1918. Notable overseas players include West Indian fast bowler Learie Constantine, Indian Test player VVS Laxman and Pakistan batsman Mohammad Yousuf.
The following Bradford League players have played international cricket:
Bowling Old Lane
Bradford & Bingley
Pudsey St Lawrence
In April 1999, Kathryn Leng became the first woman to play in the Bradford League, representing the former Yorkshire Bank club.