More commonly known as Northants, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club has its home at the County Cricket Ground in Northampton and is one of the 18 clubs which make up the domestic county cricket structure.
The first recorded match to have been played in Northamptonshire was in August 1741 between amateur teams from Northants and Bucks at Cow Meadow just outside of Northampton. The cricket club itself is thought to date back to 1820, although this has never been verified (if it could be affirmed, Northamptonshire would officially be recognised as the oldest cricket club in the County Championship). It wasn't until 1878, however, that an official county club was formed, after a meeting in July at the George Hotel in Kettering.
Northants began playing cricket as an official club in the Minor Counties league, winning the Minor Championship four times between 1899 and 1904. At that time, the Northants team included bowlers George Thompson and William East and it was largely due to their performance against the batters in the minor league that Northants was awarded first-class status in 1904 and promoted to the County Championship the following year.
Stepping up to the big leagues
During their inaugural years at first-class level, the Northants team floundered and invariably finished at the bottom of the league, largely due to their poor batsmanship. In response, batsman Sydney Smith joined the team and, after progressing to mid-table within two seasons, the club finished second in the 1912 County Championship.
In the pre-war years, the club benefited from the combined strengths of Thompson and East's accurate bowling and the formidable batting of Smith and batsman Robert Haywood. After World War I, however, Thompson and Smith were no longer part of the team and, in the interwar period, Northamptonshire consequently struggled to stay in the County Championship, finishing last every year between 1934 and 1938.
The Post-War Recovery
After World War II, the club stepped up its performance by recruiting more widely from international teams, bringing players such as Australian Jock Livingstone and New Zealander Peter Arnold into the team. During the fifties, sixties and seventies, Northants won many more first-class games than they had done before the war and produced a number of world-class players such as Allan Lamb, Peter Willey and David Steele who went on to represent England in test cricket. Frustratingly though, despite notable performances in 1957, 1965 and 1976, the team did not manage to win the Championship. Indeed, that particular honour has continued to elude the county to this very day, a hundred years after their first-class debut.
In recent years, Northamptonshire have become noted for their one-day cricket, finishing third in the 2005 one day league and second in the Pro40 league the following year. In first-class cricket, the county currently has a strong squad made up of a number of notable international players such as Australian batsman Martin Love, who fans hope will lead Northants to their long-awaited Championship victory before too long.
Despite promising beginnings in their early years as a county cricket club, and during the post-war years of the fifties and sixties, Northamptonshire have been awarded relatively few honours, but there are still a few high points in their cricketing history:
- County Championships: Northants have never won the Championships but they have come second on several occasions (1912, 1957, 1965, 1976)
- County Division Two Championships: 2000
- Gillette/ Natwest/ C&G/ Friends Provident Trophy: 1976, 1992
- Sunday/ National/ Pro 40 League (2nd place) 2006
- Benson & Hedges Cup 1980
- Minor Counties Championship 1899, 1900, 1903, 1904
- Second XI Championship 1960, 1998
Northamptonshire has produced a series of notable batsmen, bowlers and fielders who have set some significant club records in recent years:
- Most first-class runs scored for the county: 28980 (Dennis Brookes)
- Most first-class wickets taken for the county: 1102 (Nobby Clark)
- Most first-class runs scored in an innings: 331 (M.E.K Hussey)
- Best bowling in an innings: 10-127 (VWC Jupp)
- Highest number of runs taken to win: 781-7 (v Nottinghamshire, 1995)
- Highest number of runs taken against: 673-6 (by Yorkshire, 2003)
Tickets can be ordered online at the official Northants website or through the ticket office on:
- Tel: 01604 514 455
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Up-to-date information about ticket prices for individual matches can be found on the official Northants website or, alternatively, membership can be bought at the following prices:
- Full Membership (aged 18-59) - £145
- Full Membership (aged 60 and over) - £125
- Cricket Club Membership - £265
- Executive Membership - £210
- Corporate Membership - £420
- Country Membership (aged 18-59) - £105
Directions to the ground are as follows:
From the M1
Leave the motorway at junction 15 and join the A508 (A45) towards Northampton. Continue along the dual carriageway for approximately 3 miles, passing the Hilton Hotel and Delapre Golf Course on the left-hand side. Keep in the left-hand lane and take the next exit marked A428 Bedford and Town Centre. Move into the middle lane and, at the next roundabout, take the second exit onto Rushmere Road (A5095) following signs for Abington/ Kingsthorpe.
Continue straight on along Rushmere Road through Abington Park to the traffic lights at the main junction with Wellingborough Road. Cross the junction and keep in the left-hand lane, turning left at the traffic lights into Abington Avenue. The cricket ground entrance is approximately 300 yards along the road on the left-hand side.
From the A45/ Wellingborough
From the dual carriageway, take the exit marked Town Centre after having passed Biling Aquadrome and the Riverside Retail Park on the left. Nearing the bottom of the slip road, move into the right hand lane and, at the roundabout, take the fourth exit onto Rushmere Road signposted Abington/ Kingsthorpe.
Follow the Rushmere Road (A5095) across the junction with Billing Road and continue straight on through Abington Park to the traffic lights at the main junction with Wellingborough Road. Cross the junction and keep in the left-hand lane, turning left at the traffic lights into Abington Avenue. The cricket ground entrance is then approximately 300 yards along the road on the left-hand side.
For information about matches or for general enquiries contact:
- Tel: 01604 514 455
- Email: email@example.com
- Address: Northants Cricket, The County Ground, Abington Avenue, Northampton, NN1 4PR