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Northamptonshire County Cricket Club


Northamptonshire County Cricket Club is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Northamptonshire. Its limited overs team is called the Northants Steelbacks – a reference to the Northamptonshire Regiment which was formed in 1881. The name was supposedly a tribute to the soldiers' apparent indifference to the harsh discipline imposed by their officers.[2] Founded in 1878, Northamptonshire (Northants) held minor status at first but was a prominent member of the early Minor Counties Championship during the 1890s. In 1905, the club joined the County Championship and was elevated to first-class status, since when the team have played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England.[3]

The club plays the majority of its games at the County Cricket Ground, Northampton, but has used outlier grounds at Kettering, Wellingborough and Peterborough (formerly part of Northamptonshire, but now in Cambridgeshire) in the past. It has also used grounds outside the county for one-day games: for example, at Luton, Tring and Milton Keynes.

During the 2019 season, Northamptonshire played in Division Two of the County Championship, the North Division of the Royal London One-Day Cup and the North Division of the Vitality t20 Blast.

Honours and Achievements

First XI: Honours/Achievements

Runners-up (4): 1912, 1957, 1965, 1976
Division Two
Winners (1) – 2000
Runners-up (3): 2003, 2013, 2019
Winners (2) – 2013, 2016
Runners-up (1): 2015
Division One
Runners-up (1): 2006
Division Two
Runners-up (1): 1999
Third place (1): 2003
Promoted (2): 1999, 2003
Winners (2) – 1976, 1992
Runners-up (5): 1979, 1981, 1987, 1990, 1995
Winners (1) – 1980
Runners-up (2): 1987, 1996
Winners (2) – 1903, 1904
Shared (2): 1899, 1900

Second XI: Honours

Winners (2) – 1960, 1998
Winners (2) – 1986, 1998


Team totals

Highest total for781–7 declaredNottinghamshireNorthampton1995[1]
Highest total against673–8 declaredYorkshireHeadingley2003[2]
Lowest total for12GloucestershireBristol1907[3]
Lowest total against33LancashireNorthampton1977[4]
Highest scores[6]1. Mike Hussey
2. Mike Hussey
3. Mal Loye
331* v .Somerset, County Ground, Taunton, 2003
329* v. Essex, County Ground, Northampton, 2001
322* v. Glamorgan, County Ground, Northampton, 1998
Most runs in season[7]1. Dennis Brookes
2. Norman Oldfield
3. Mike Hussey
2,198, 1952
2,192, 1949
2,055, 2001

Record partnership for each wicket

WicketScoreBatting partnersOppositionVenueYearLink
1st375R. A. White & M. J. PowellGloucestershireNorthampton2002[5]
2nd344G. Cook & R. J. Boyd-MossLancashireNorthampton1986[6]
3rd393A. Fordham & A. J. LambYorkshireLeeds1990[7]
4th370R. T. Virgin & P. WilleySomersetNorthampton1976[8]
5th401M. B. Loye & D. RipleyGlamorganNorthampton1998[9]
6th376R. Subba Row & A. LightfootSurreyThe Oval1958[10]
7th293D. J. G. Sales & D. RipleyEssexNorthampton1999[11]
8th179A. J. Hall & J. D. MiddlebrookSurreyThe Oval2011[12]
9th156R. Subba Row & S. StarkieLancashireNorthampton1955[13]
10th148B. W. Bellamy & J. V. MurdinGlamorganNorthampton1925[14]
Best bowling (innings)[8]1. Vallance Jupp
2. Albert Thomas
3. Vincent Broderick
10–127 v. Kent, Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells, 1932
9–30 v. Yorkshire, Park Avenue, Bradford, 1920
9–35 v. Sussex, Cricketfield Road, Horsham, 1948
Best bowling (match)[9]1. George Tribe
2. Vallance Jupp
3. George Tribe
15–31 v. Yorkshire, County Ground, Northampton, 1958
15–52 v. Glamorgan, St Helen's, Swansea, 1925
15–75 v. Yorkshire, Park Avenue, Bradford, 1955
Most wickets in season[10]1. George Tribe
2. George Thompson
3. Nobby Clark
175, 1955
148, 1913
141, 1929
Most victims in innings[11]1. Keith Andrew
2. David Ripley
7 v. Lancashire, Old Trafford, Manchester, 1962
6 v. Sussex, County Ground, Northampton, 1988
Most victims in season[12]1. Keith Andrew
2. David Ripley
90, 1962
81, 1988


Earliest cricket

Cricket had probably reached Northamptonshire by the end of the 17th century and the first two references to cricket in the county are within a few days of each other in 1741. On Monday 10 August, there was a match at Woburn Park between a Bedfordshire XI and a combined Northants and Huntingdonshire XI.[13] Woburn Cricket Club under the leadership of the Duke of Bedford was on the point of becoming a well known club. On Tuesday 18 August, a match played on the Cow Meadow near Northampton between two teams of amateurs from Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire is the earliest known instance of cricket being played in Northamptonshire county.

Origin of club

On 31 July 1878, the official formation of Northants CCC took place at a meeting in the George Hotel, Kettering based on an existing organisation that dated back to 1820. The 1820 date, if it could be verified, would make Northants the oldest club in the present-day County Championship. The club came to prominence in the Minor Counties Championship during the 1890s as, between 1900 and 1904, the bowling of George Thompson and William East was much too good for almost all batsmen at that level. The county applied for first-class status in 1904 and was promoted the following year when it joined the County Championship. They played its inaugural first-class match versus Hampshire CCC at Southampton on 18, 19 & 20 May 1905 when making its County Championship debut.

Stepping up to first-class

Although Thompson and East proved themselves to be bowlers of high class, a weak batting line-up meant that the team remained close to the bottom of the championship table until Sydney Smith arrived in 1909. After three years in the middle of the table, Northants surprisingly improved to finish second in 1912 and fourth in 1913. Thompson, Smith and William "Bumper" Wells formed one of the strongest attacks in county cricket at the time, whilst Smith and Haywood were the county's best batsmen.

Thompson and Smith finished playing after World War I and, during the inter-war period, Northamptonshire were regularly one of the weaker championship sides. This was exacerbated when Vallance Jupp declined due to age and, despite the arrival of Nobby Clark, a young left arm fast bowler from Huntingdonshire who burst onto the scene at the age of 20 in 1922 with 20 wickets at an average of 17.10 and Fred Bakewell, an exciting batsman who regularly exceeded 1000 runs a season, Northamptonshire could only finish above second from last four times between 1923 and 1948, finishing last every year from 1934 to 1938 and enduring a run of 99 matches from 14 May 1935 to 29 May 1939 without a single championship victory, a record that has never been beaten and doesn’t look like being beaten in the future. Things got worse for Northamptonshire during this time when Bakewell's career ended due to a broken arm in a car crash that also resulted in the fatality of teammate, Reginald Northway.[14]

The post-war recovery

After the Second World War, things could only get better for Northamptonshire and they started by recruiting widely from other counties and countries, bringing in Freddie Brown from Surrey; the Australians Jock Livingston, George Tribe and Jack Manning; the New Zealander Peter Arnold; and the Cambridge University opening bat and leg-spinner Raman Subba Row. Brown joined as captain in 1949, and led the team to six place in his first season after previous years of disappointment.[15] Under the new leadership of Dennis Brookes (a stalwart batsman for over 20 years), finished second in 1957, their best finish for 45 years. This was mainly due to the bowling attack of Frank Tyson,[16] Vincent Broderick, Michael Allen, George Tribe and Manning. Northamptonshire were widely considered the best team in England in the late 1950s and early 1960s, during this time Keith Andrew, Northants best ever Wicket-keeper broke the records of most victims in an innings and a season.

Subsequently, the club has seen mixed fortunes. The club has had intermittent success in one-day competitions, but it has still not won the County Championship, although second place was achieved in each of 1957, 1965 and 1976. Nonetheless it has included several famous players qualified for England, including the South African-born batsman Allan Lamb; fast bowler David Larter; the hard hitting opener Colin Milburn, whose career was cut tragically short by an eye injury sustained in a car crash; the reliable batsmen David Steele and Rob Bailey; opening batsman Wayne Larkins; and all-rounders Peter Willey and David Capel.

Several notable overseas players such as Matthew Hayden, Curtly Ambrose, André Nel, Kapil Dev, Mike Hussey, Sarfraz Nawaz, Mushtaq Mohammad, Anil Kumble, Dennis Lillee and Bishen Bedi have starred for the club, which was particularly formidable as a one-day batting outfit in the late 1970s and early 1980s. More recently, Lance Klusener and Monty Panesar have been notable players.

Northants have recently been criticised for the number of Kolpak players in the team, but for the 2009 season there were only three in Andrew Hall, Johan van der Wath and Nicky Boje, and only one in 2013 in Hall.

Ground history

County Ground.

As with all county cricket clubs, Northamptonshire CCC represents the historic county and not any modern or current administrative unit. In Northamptonshire's case, this means the county of Northamptonshire and the Town of Northampton, although the club have in the past played some home matches outside the historic borders such as in Luton and Milton Keynes.

Northamptonshire first played at the county ground in Northampton in 1905, and continue to do so till this day even though Northampton Town F.C. shared the ground up until 1994 when the Cobblers moved to Sixfields Stadium. After the football club moved, the ground at the Abington Avenue was demolished and replaced by a new indoor school which includes seating looking on to the ground. In 2009, Northants cricket announced plans to improve the ground by building two new stands on the scoreboard side of the ground, there will also be a permanent commentary box with a view to have a 'mini Lord's' style media centre.

This following table gives details of every venue at which Northamptonshire have hosted a first-class, List A or Twenty20 cricket match:

Name of groundLocationYearFC
County GroundNorthampton1905–present969341171327
Town GroundKettering1923–197365469
School GroundWellingborough1946–1991431760
Town GroundPeterborough1906–19664646
Wardown ParkLuton1973–20041124136
Town GroundRushden1924–19632222
Tring ParkTring1974–19911616
Manor FieldsBletchley1976–19873710
Campbell ParkMilton Keynes1997–present235
Bedford SchoolBedford1971–198222
Horton HouseHorton1976–197722
Ideal Clothiers GroundWellingborough192911
Stowe SchoolStowe200511
Source: CricketArchive
Updated: 6 November 2009

Current officials

  • President: The Rt Hon. the Lord Naseby
  • Chairman: Gavin Warren
  • Chief Executive: Ray Payne
  • Scorer: Tony Kingston
  • Head Groundsman: Craig Harvey

Coaching staff

  • Head Coach: David Ripley
  • Academy Director/2nd XI Coach
  • Performance Coach/Fielding and 2nd XI Coach: Kevin Innes
  • Head Physiotherapist/Science and Medicine Lead Coach: Barry Goudriaan
  • Head Strength and Conditioning Coach: Chris Lorkin


Current squad

The Northamptonshire squad for the 2020 season consists of (this section could change as players are released or signed):

  • No. denotes the player's squad number, as worn on the back of their shirt.
  • double-dagger denotes players with international caps.
  •  *  denotes a player who has been awarded a county cap.
No.NameNationalityBirth dateBatting StyleBowling StyleNotes
4Josh Cobb* England (1990-08-17) 17 August 1990 (age 29)Right-handedRight-arm off breakCaptain (T20)
8Alex Wakely* England (1988-11-03) 3 November 1988 (age 31)Right-handedRight-arm off break
10Rob Newton* England (1990-01-18) 18 January 1990 (age 30)Right-handedRight-arm leg break
21Rob Keogh* England (1991-10-21) 21 October 1991 (age 28)Right-handedRight-arm off break
57Ben Curran England (1996-06-07) 7 June 1996 (age 23)Left-handedRight-arm off break
88Richard Levidouble-dagger South Africa (1988-01-14) 14 January 1988 (age 32)Right-handedRight-arm mediumUK Passport
96Charlie Thurston England (1996-08-17) 17 August 1996 (age 23)Right-handedRight-arm medium
Emilio Gay England (2000-04-30) 30 April 2000 (age 19)Left-handedRight-arm medium
2Luke Procter England (1988-06-14) 14 June 1988 (age 31)Left-handedRight-arm fast-medium
18Saif Zaib England (1998-05-22) 22 May 1998 (age 21)Left-handedSlow left-arm orthodox
41Faheem Ashraf double-dagger Pakistan (1994-01-16) 16 January 1994 (age 26)Left-handedRight-arm fast-mediumOverseas player
90Tom Sole double-dagger Scotland (1996-06-21) 21 June 1996 (age 23)Right-handedRight-arm off break
Gareth Berg Italy (1981-01-18) 18 January 1981 (age 39)Right-handedRight-arm fast-medium
7Adam Rossington* England (1993-05-05) 5 May 1993 (age 26)Right-handedCaptain (FC)
27Ricardo Vasconcelos South Africa (1997-10-27) 27 October 1997 (age 22)Left-handedPortuguese passport
11Nathan Buck England (1991-04-26) 26 April 1991 (age 28)Right-handedRight-arm fast-medium
16Brett Hutton England (1993-02-06) 6 February 1993 (age 26)Right-handedRight-arm fast-medium
26Ben Sanderson* England (1989-01-03) 3 January 1989 (age 31)Right-handedRight-arm fast-medium
40Blessing Muzarabani double-dagger Zimbabwe (1996-10-02) 2 October 1996 (age 23)Right-handedRight-arm fast-mediumKolpak registration
87Graeme White England (1987-04-18) 18 April 1987 (age 32)Right-handedSlow left-arm orthodoxList A & T20 only
Brandon Glover double-dagger Netherlands (1997-04-03) 3 April 1997 (age 22)Right-handedRight-arm fast
Jack White England (1992-02-19) 19 February 1992 (age 27)Left-handedRight-arm medium-fast

Notable players

This list is compiled of international cricketers who have played Test and/or ODI cricket. It also includes players who have been mentioned in the '100 Greats: Northamptonshire County Cricket Club' book.[17] Therefore, making them notable to the county and international cricket scene.

County captains

A complete list of officially appointed Northamptonshire captains can be found here: List of Northamptonshire cricket captains.

Notable captains:

County caps

Northamptonshire do not automatically award caps to players on their first appearance; instead, they have to be 'earned' through good performances. In recent times, cricketers who are awarded a county cap are given a new cap with yellow stripes on the maroon instead of a plain maroon cap. The following players have received caps:


  1. ^ Previously known as the Gillette Cup between 1963 and 1980, the NatWest Trophy between 1981 and 2000 and the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy between 2001 and 2006.


  1. ^ "County Ground - England - Cricket Grounds - ESPNcricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  2. ^ Club History: Why the Steelbacks? Retrieved 2010-06-30.
  3. ^ ACS (1982). A Guide to First-Class Cricket Matches Played in the British Isles. Nottingham: ACS.
  4. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  5. ^ "The Home of CricketArchive". Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  6. ^ Highest score for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 18 September 2009
  7. ^ Most Runs in a Season for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 18 September 2009
  8. ^ Most Wickets in an Innings for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 September 2009
  9. ^ Most Wickets in a Match for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 September 2009
  10. ^ Most Wickets in a Season for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 September 2009
  11. ^ Most Victims in an Innings for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved 19 September 2009
  12. ^ Most Victims in a Season for Northamptonshire CricketArchive. Retrieved on 19 September 2009.
  13. ^ Waghorn (1899), p27.
  14. ^ "Deaths in 1936". Wisden Cricketers' Almanack (1937 ed.). Wisden. pp. Part I, 276.
  15. ^ 1949 County Championship table CricketArchive. Retrieved 30 October 2009
  16. ^ Frank Tyson, In the Eye of the Typhoon, Parrs Wood Press, 2004
  17. ^ *Radd, Andrew (February 2001). 100 Greats: Northamptonshire County Cricket Club. Northampton: Tempus Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7524-2195-6.


  • Radd, Andrew (February 2001). 100 Greats: Northamptonshire County Cricket Club. Northampton: Tempus Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7524-2195-6.

Further reading

  • H S Altham, A History of Cricket, Volume 1 (to 1914), George Allen & Unwin, 1962
  • Derek Birley, A Social History of English Cricket, Aurum, 1999
  • Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  • Matthew Engel and Andrew Radd, The History of Northamptonshire CCC (County Cricket History), Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd, 1993,ISBN 978-0-7136-8024-9
  • H T Waghorn, Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773), Blackwood, 1899
  • Roy Webber, The Playfair Book of Cricket Records, Playfair Books, 1951
  • Playfair Cricket Annual – various editions
  • Wisden Cricketers' Almanack – various editions

External links

28 September 2019