The ECB Premier Leagues are a series of regional cricket leagues organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that form the top tier of club cricket in England and Wales. The ECB published "Raising the Standard" in 1997, the ECB Management Board Blueprint for the Future Playing Structure of cricket. This introduced the concept of ECB Premier Leagues, designed to raise the playing standard of the top tier of club cricket and to bridge the gap between recreational cricket and the First Class game. A national network of Premier Leagues was established, with funding from the ECB. The Leagues have to meet the published ECB assessment criteria and they receive accreditation on an annual basis.
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch with a wicket at each end, each comprising two bails balanced on three stumps. The batting side scores runs by striking the ball bowled at the wicket with the bat, while the bowling and fielding side tries to prevent this and dismiss each player. Means of dismissal include being bowled, when the ball hits the stumps and dislodges the bails, and by the fielding side catching the ball after it is hit by the bat, but before it hits the ground. When ten players have been dismissed, the innings ends and the teams swap roles. The game is adjudicated by two umpires, aided by a third umpire and match referee in international matches. They communicate with two off-field scorers who record the match's statistical information.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council. Like many sports-governing bodies in the United Kingdom it is a company limited by guarantee, a legal status which enables it to concentrate on maximising its funding of the sport rather than making a return for investors. The ECB's head offices are at Lord's in London. Although the organisation is the England and Wales Cricket Board, it is referred to as the ECB not the EWCB as a result of a decision taken in the run-up to the launch of ECB in January 1997 by those from within the game given the task of overseeing the transition from the previous bodies from which ECB was formed.
Club cricket is a mainly amateur, but still formal, form of the sport of cricket, usually involving teams playing in competitions at weekends or in the evening. There is a great deal of variation in game format although the Laws of Cricket are always observed. The main nations that club cricket is played in include Pakistan, England, Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Netherlands, Hong Kong and in some of the major cities in India. Club cricket is played virtually all over the world. Club cricket is also now played in the United States and Canada, as both countries have large communities of immigrants from mainstream cricket-playing regions such as the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia.
Premier Leagues are expected to establish links to other leagues in order to allow ambitious clubs to aspire to Premier League status over time. Many were based on existing leagues although some new Regional Premier Leagues were created. The ECB decided that overseas players are allowed to play in this top tier of club cricket provided that there is only one overseas player in any Premier League club team, which mirrors the arrangements for overseas players in the club cricket structures in countries such as Australia and South Africa.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.
The Premier League clubs must show a strong commitment to junior cricket and the assessment criteria explicitly require strong junior sections that can provide cricket coaching and matches for the next generation of cricketers. There is also an increased emphasis on practice and the development of skills for the adult players in Premier League clubs.
The Birmingham and District Cricket League is the oldest club cricket league in the world, formed in 1888. It was the first ECB Premier League, being designated such in 1998, and is one of the strongest of the ECB Premier Leagues.
The Bradford Premier League is an amateur cricket competition centred in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It has been described as "arguably England's strongest amateur competition."
The Cheshire County Cricket League is a cricket league based in England. It is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the Cheshire area, and is a designated ECB Premier League.
The North East Premier League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the North East of England, serving the counties of Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. Since 2000 it has been a designated ECB Premier League.
The North Staffordshire and South Cheshire League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the North Staffordshire and South Cheshire area of England. Since 2001 it has been a designated ECB Premier League.
The North Wales Cricket League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in North Wales, and since 2001 has been an accredited ECB Premier League as part of the expansion of cricket at a grassroots level.
The English football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football clubs in England, with five teams from Wales and one from Guernsey also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the theoretical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system, although in practice it would take a team at the bottom levels at least two decades of consistently finishing at or near the top of each successive league to reach the top level, and even then additional restrictions, particularly in regard to stadium facilities, would then come into effect at the highest levels that could prevent a club from being allowed access to the top levels. There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions.
The Twenty20 Cup, known since 2014 as the t20 Blast, is a professional Twenty20 cricket competition for English and Welsh first-class counties. The competition was established by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in 2003 as the first professional Twenty20 league in the world. It is the top-level Twenty20 competition in England and Wales.
Inter-county cricket matches are known to have been played since the early 18th century, involving teams that are representative of the historic counties of England and Wales. Since the late 19th century, there have been two county championship competitions played at different levels: the County Championship, a first-class competition which currently involves eighteen first-class county clubs among which seventeen are English and one is from Wales; and the Minor Counties Championship, which currently involves nineteen English county clubs and one club that represents several Welsh counties.
The European Cricket Council (ECC) is an international body which oversees cricket in European countries other than the Test-playing cricketing nations of England and Wales and Ireland.
Old Hill Cricket Club is a cricket club in Cradley Heath, West Midlands, England.
Cricket in England is one of the most popular sports in the country and is known to have been played in England since the 16th century. The Marylebone Cricket Club, based at Lords, developed the modern rules of play and conduct.
The West of England Premier League (WEPL) is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the West of England and is a designated ECB Premier League.
Rugby union in England consists of 101 leagues, which includes professional leagues at the highest level, down to amateur regional leagues. Promotion and relegation is in place throughout the system.
The Association of Cricket Officials (ACO) is an organisation set up to represent and support cricket officials, especially umpires and scorers. It operates under the auspices of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and is often referred to as the "ECB ACO" or similar. Current membership is "near 8,000".
The Cornwall Cricket Premier League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in Cornwall, UK and is a designated an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Premier League. Truro won the competition in 2017, their fourth win. St Just are the most successful club winning the competition in eight of its seventeen seasons.
The Liverpool and District Cricket Competition is regarded by some as the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in the Liverpool area and since 2000 has been a designated ECB Premier League.
Worthing Cricket Club is a cricket club in the coastal town of Worthing in West Sussex, England. Founded in 1855, the club's first XI plays in the Sussex Cricket League which is the accredited ECB Premier League for Sussex and is the highest level for recreational club cricket in England and Wales.
Lewis Gregory is an English cricketer who plays for Somerset County Cricket Club. A right-handed batsman and right-arm seam bowler, Gregory made his senior cricket debut in 2010, representing Somerset against the touring Pakistanis.
The Women's Cricket Super League (WCSL), known as the Kia Super League (KSL) for sponsorship reasons, is a semi-professional women's Twenty20 cricket competition in England and Wales operated by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). The competition features six franchise teams, partnered with a variety of county teams and boards and universities, and was envisaged as a means to bridge the gap between amateur domestic cricket and the increasingly professional international game.
Richard Martin Cox is an English cricketer who has also worked as a coach and administrator. He played Minor Counties cricket for Herefordshire, and has served in various administrative roles, most notably as CEO of the Royal Dutch Cricket Board between 2009 and 2015. Cox returned to the UK to head up Cricket Shropshire as General Manager from April 2015 until he was recruited to the ECB as Regional Manager for the West Midlands beginning in November 2016 a position he holds currently.
Yorkshire Diamonds is an English women's Twenty20 cricket team based in Leeds, Yorkshire. They were formed in 2016 to compete in the inaugural season of the Women's Cricket Super League. They will play their home matches at the Headingley Cricket Ground. They are coached by Paul Grayson and are captained by Lauren Winfield and as Jane Hildreth is General Manager. The team is partnered with Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The squad includes overseas players Alex Blackwell, Beth Mooney and Shabnim Ismail as well as England players Lauren Winfield, Katherine Brunt, Jenny Gunn and Danielle Hazell.
The Hundred is the working title of a proposed professional 100-ball cricket league in England and Wales run by the ECB from 2020. The league will consist of eight city-based franchise teams, each of which will field both a men's and women's team. It is intended to run alongside the county-based t20 Blast for men and supersede the Women's Super League.