Leicestershire County Cricket Club
Leicestershire CCC is based at Grace Road in Leicester, although they have also played home games in Loughborough and Melton Mowbray, as well as in Rutland County. The team is known as the Leicestershire Foxes.
The Early Years
Cricket has been played in Leicestershire since the 1770s and the Leicestershire and Rutland Cricket Club was formed in 1781. However, the Leicestershire CCC which still exists today, was not started until 25 March 1879. Their first major match was against Essex CCC in 1894, and in 1895 they were inducted into the 14-team County Championship, along with Essex and Warwickshire CCC.
The 20th Century
Throughout much of the early 20th century, Leicestershire languished at the bottom, or near the bottom of the table. Secretary-captain, Charles Palmer, helped pull the side to a respectable third place in 1953, but this good form was not maintained and the team returned to the lower parts of the table.
The recruitment of Willie Watson sparked a change for Leicestershire CCC in the late 1950s. Watson had enjoyed a fantastic career with both Yorkshire CCC and the England National team and helped to turn the Leicestershire Foxes around completely.
With Watson’s encouragement, Maurice Hallam became one of England’s best opening batsmen, and Leicestershire were lucky with their bowlers as well. The team of seamers, including Brian Boshier, John Cotton, Terry Spencer and Jack van Geloven, combined with the unpredictable spin of John Savage, made the Leicestershire Foxes a formidable attacking team.
With this steady rise to greatness, all that was needed was a brilliant captain to lead them to Championship glory. This task was given to Tony Lock, who transferred from Surrey and had also played for England.
Under his captaincy, Leicestershire CCC were runners-up in the Championship and his successor, Ray Illingsworth, a Yorkshire man, continued Lock’s fantastic work, and led the Foxes to their first Championship title in 1975.
Leicestershire did not triumph at Championship level again until 1996 and then again in 1998. This was a phenomenal achievement, especially as the club was under-equipped, compared with some of the other County Championship teams.
The 1996 team was led by Jack Birkenshaw, and the 1998 team by James Whitaker, and both teams focussed on teamwork to bring about the results. Unlike some of the other teams, Leicestershire was not over endowed with famous cricketing stars, although many of the players, including Chris Lewis, Darren Maddy and Alan Mullally, had chances for England. Phil Simmons, the famous West Indian all-rounder, was named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year while playing at Leicestershire in 1997.
A Fall from Grace
Following their fantastic result of gaining two Championship titles in three years, Leicestershire’s performance has worsened of late. In 2003 the Foxes were relegated from the County Championship and the limited overs competition; they have not come close to promotion since that time.
This lack of form has been blamed on the loss of many talented cricketers at the same time, for various reasons, and the replacements have failed to match the magic shown by their predecessors. Despite this, the team has been successful in the Twenty20 Cup, with 2007 being the first year they failed to reach the knock-out stages.
Head coach, Tim Boon, and captain, Paul Nixon, have signed deals to keep Leicestershire CCC at Grace Road until 2010. It has been decided that the club will try to promote more young players, while still relying heavily on a core base of senior players, in an attempt to bring about a change in fortunes for the Foxes.
Leicestershire CCC Ground
Although currently based at Grace Road, Leicester until at least 2010, the Leicestershire Foxes have also played home games at many other locations.
|Name||Years in Use|
|Grace Road, Leicester||1877-present|
|Oakham School, Oakham||2000-present|
|Aylestone Road, Leicester||1901-1962|
|Ashby Road, Hinckley||1911-1937|
|Bath Grounds, Ashby-de-la-Zouch||1912-1964|
|Fox and Goose Ground, Coalville||1913-1914|
|Park Road, Loughborough||1913-1970|
|College Road, Loughborough||1928-1928|
|Egerton Road, Melton Mowbray||1946-1948|
|Town Ground, Coalville||1950|
|Coventry Road, Hinckley||1951-1964|
|Brush Ground, Loughborough||1953-1965|
|Snibston Colliery Ground, Coalville||1957-1982|
|Leicester Road, Hinckley||1981-1991|
- Ewart Astill (right arm off-break bowler, right-hand bat) played for Leicestershire from 1922 to 1935 and was brought out of retirement twice by the team. He still holds the record for the most wickets throughout his career with Leicestershire, numbering 2131.
- Les Berry (right-hand bat) joined Leicestershire CCC in 1924 and remained with the team until 1948. After retiring from first-class cricket, he became a school umpire, but he still holds the Leicestershire runs record with 30,143.
- Dickie Bird (right arm off-break bowler, right-hand bat) played for the Foxes from 1956 to 1964. He later became an umpire and officiated at over 60 test matches; he received an MBE in 1986.
- George Geary (right arm fast-medium, right-hand bat) represented Leicestershire Foxes from 1924 to 1934. Geary also played a vital role in the 1928/9 Ashes campaign. After his retirement from professional cricket he became a coach at Chartwell.
- David Gower (right arm off-spin, left-hand bat) played for Leicestershire from 1975 to 1989, but is most famous for captaining England in the 80s. He was also team captain on the BBC’s They Think It’s All Over from 1995 to 2003.
- Brad Hodge (right arm off-spin, right-hand bat) has been with Leicestershire since 2005, but it is for his role in the Australian international team that he is most famous. It was with the Foxes that he achieved his highest first-class score of 302.
|Paul Nixon||British||Wicket-keeper, Left hand bat||1989|
|Hylton Ackerman||South African||Right arm medium bowler, Right hand bat||2005|
|Jeremy Snape (c)||British||Off-spin bowler, Right hand bat||2003|
|Jim Allenby||British||Right arm seam bowler, Right hand bat||2005|
|Claude Henderson||South African||Left arm spinner, Right hand bat||2004|
|Tom New||British||Wicket-keeper, Left hand bat||2002|
|Ryan Cummins||British||Right arm seam bowler, Right hand bat||2005|
|Daniel Rowe||British||Right arm medium-fast bowler, Right hand bat||2006|
|Matthew Boyce||British||Off-spin bowler, Left hand bat||2005|
|Harry Gurney||British||Left arm seam bowler, Right hand bat||2006|
County Championship – 1975, 1996, 1998
Sunday/National League – 1974, 1977
Twenty20 Cup 2004, 2006
Benson & Hedges Cup – 1972, 1975, 1985
Second XI honours
Second XI Championship – 1983
Minor Counties Championship – 1931
- Most first-class runs for Leicestershire – Les Berry (30143)
- Most first-class wickets for Leicestershire – Ewart Astill (2131)
- Most first-class wickets in a season – Jack Walsh (170) in 1948
- Highest score for – 701-4 vs Worcestershire, 1906
- Highest individual score – Brad Hodge (262) vs Durham in 2004
- Most dismissals in an innings – Neil Burns (7) vs Somerset in 2001
Membership of the Leicestershire County Cricket Club comes in two main forms: inclusive or exclusive of Twenty20 games.
|Adult Gold (one Full, one Transferable)||£247|
|Senior Citizen (60+)||£111|
|Student (16+ in full-time education)||£71|
|Reserved Parking for all home matches||£220|
You can also obtain Gower Membership which gives you full voting rights, costing from £566 or become a Company Partner from £350; full membership prices are available here.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club at Grace Road is very easy to access both by car and public transport.
- By road: From the M1 exit at Junction 21 taking the A5460 along Narborough Road. At the Premier Travel Inn traffic lights, turn right, continue for one mile and turn left at the T-junction to arrive at Grace Road. From the City Centre take the A594 south passing the Leicester Tigers rugby club. Join Aylestone Road and turn left onto Duncan Road after one mile. Take the first left onto Curzon Road and you will be facing the ground entrance.
- By bus: Buses run from the city centre and you can take either the 46, 47, 84 or 85 to Grace Road. The 46 and 47 run every 15 minutes and the 84 and 85 every 8 minutes.
Leicestershire County Cricket Club,