Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League
FormatAmateur,
50 over game
First edition1903
Tournament formatFour divisions
Number of teams48
Current championWoodlands
Most successfulBradford, Pudsey St Lawrence (10 titles each)
Most runsRichard Robinson (16,352)[1]
Most wicketsDavid Batty (1,823)[2]

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.".[3] 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 and cities 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 Cricket 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.

History

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.[4]

The only club ever to have won the Cup three times in a row is East Bierley, who won in 1998, 1999 and 2000.[5] However, the most successful club in the competition is Undercliffe, who have won it fourteen times.[6]

Structure

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.[citation needed]

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).[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.

Winners

Source:[10]

Performance by season from 2016

Key
Gold Champions
Red Relegated
Performance by season, from 2016
Club 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Batley 11 10
Bradford and Bingley 7 7 10 6 8
Cleckheaton 6 9 7 9 9
East Bierley 10 10 11
Farsley 3 3 6 7 6
Hanging Heaton 2 1 3 3 4
Lightcliffe 9 8 9 12
Methley 5 8 7
Morley 11 11
New Farnley 4 5 2 5 3
Pudsey Congs 8 12
Pudsey St Lawrence 1 4 1 4 5
Scholes 12 12
Townville 6 8 2 2
Undercliffe 11
Woodlands 5 2 4 1 1
Wrenthorpe 10 12
References [11] [12] [13] [14] [15][a] [16]
  1. ^ Coronavirus pandemic forced a reduction in league activity.

2022 1st XI Teams

Noted players

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:

In April 1999, Kathryn Leng became the first woman to play in the Bradford League, representing the former Yorkshire Bank club.

See also

References

  1. ^ Bradford Cricket League – Batsmen scoring over 10,000 career runs
  2. ^ Bradford Cricket League – Players with more than 1,000 1st XI League wickets since 1940 (incl)
  3. ^ Conn, David (22 March 2006). "Headingley gropes its way toward colour blindness". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
  4. ^ Bradford Daily Telegraph, 28 May 1904, p. 5; Yorkshire Post, 31 January 1913, p. 14; Bradford Weekly Telegraph, 9 May 1913, p. 15.
  5. ^ "Priestley Cup finals". bradfordcricketleague.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  6. ^ "Priestley Cup wins". bradfordcricketleague.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  7. ^ "JCT600 Bradford League rules, page 3". bradfordcricketleague.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  8. ^ "JCT600 Bradford League rules, page 4". bradfordcricketleague.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  9. ^ "JCT600 Bradford League rules, page 5". bradfordcricketleague.org. 2011. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  10. ^ "Past Winners".
  11. ^ "Premier League – 2016".
  12. ^ "Premier League – 2017".
  13. ^ "Premier League – 2018".
  14. ^ "Premier League – 2019".
  15. ^ "PREMIER – COVID – 2020".
  16. ^ "Premier League – 2021".
  17. ^ Nelson, Reg (15 May 2015). "Club histories – Idle". Bradford Cricket League. Archived from the original on 14 February 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Club History". Undercliffe Cricket Club. 2013. Retrieved 28 August 2017.