In the UK, the domestic game centres around the County Championship. Currently there are 18 counties that ply their trade in the tournament, with Durham being the newest member of the major counties. Here we have profiles of all the first-class counties.
Derbyshire County Cricket Club Derbyshire County Cricket Club formed in 1870 after a meeting was held at Derbys Guild Hall. A year later, after playing their inaugural First Class match against Leicester County Cricket Club at Old Trafford, the club entered the County Championship. With the exception of a few successful matches at the beginning of their First Class career, Derbyshire performed badly in the County Championship and in 1888 the club lost its First Class Cricket status. By 1894 the club were back on form and returned to the Championship but in 1897 their weakness was marked again when they failed to win a single match, despite having a number of strong players in the team.
Durham County Cricket Club Cricket was slow in spreading as far north as Durham. Though it is believed that the earliest reference to cricket in the county was a game between the Earl of Northumberlands XI and the Duke of Clevelands XI that reportedly took place in the spectacular setting of Raby Castle on August 5th 1751. The first officially recorded game of cricket within the county of Durham took place near a century later, in Sunderland in 1848 between the All England XII and Bishopwearmouth 22.
Essex County Cricket Club Essex County Cricket Club was formed on the 14th January, 1876, in Brentwood. Cricket had been gaining in popularity in Essex and surrounding areas for about a century prior to the official formation of the club. Six years after the formation of the club, they moved from Brentwood to Leyton. This same year saw the arrival of Charles Green at the club and many still view him as the founding father. Essex had to wait until 1894, however, before they played their inaugural first-class match. It was played against Leicestershire at Leyton and the opposition proved far too strong for Essex.
Glamorgan County Cricket Club After a meeting on March 1869 at The Castle Hotel in Neath between a number of senior cricketing figures from the area, Glamorganshire County Cricket Club was established. The team played other Welsh and English counties and teams for a short while, but didnt last the year.
Gloucestershire County Cricket Club The original documents documenting the early history of the club have been lost. The first records of the club itself are dated 1871, but an organisation that is thought to have been the forerunner for the club, is known to have been in existence in 1863. Cricket had been played in Gloucestershire since the early eighteenth century, although this was mostly confined to matches between parishesHampshire County Cricket Club Cricket began in Hampshire in the 18th Century with the famous Hambledon Cricket Club. The origins of this club have been lost so there are no records of cricket in Hampshire before 1756. This club dominated British domestic cricket until the formation of the Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787
Kent County Cricket Club Kent is said to be the birthplace of English cricket and, today, the county team and the limited-overs squad, called the Spitfires, remain at the centre of the English cricket world. Despite their long, unbroken history, the club have never established a fixed home ground, and today they share home matches between St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, the County Cricket Ground, Beckenham and the Neville Ground, Tunbridge Wells. After a quiet period at the end of the twentieth century, Kents fortunes have picked up again since the millennium, although the enthusiasm of their fanbase has never abated
Lancashire County Cricket Club In 1864 thirteen clubs came together looking to form a county club and Lancashire County Cricket Club was born. Meeting at Manchesters Old Trafford, which would become their home, the club intended to introduce cricket to all parts of LancashireLeicestershire County Cricket Club 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
Middlesex County Cricket Club County cricket began in Middlesex in 1863 at a meeting held by the Hon. Robert Grimston, but there were problems right from the start when an appropriate cricket ground could not be found. At first the club was located in Islington, but then the landlord increased rent prices so in 1869, after further problems at the ground, Middlesex County cricket moved to Lilles Bridge. However, the turf at this new ground was completely unsuitable and the club was close to dissolution. The decision was made by one vote in a group of thirteen and the club stayed open. Matters improved slightly in 1871, but no professionals joined the club and it moved again in 1872 to Princes. Builders quickly moved into Princes ground and the decision was finally made to move to Lords cricket ground in 1877, where Middlesex County cricket has resided ever since
Northamptonshire County Cricket Club 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 wasnt until 1878, however, that an official county club was formed, after a meeting in July at the George Hotel in Kettering
Somerset County Cricket Club There is evidence of some form of cricket being played in the county of Somerset, since the late 1600s. However, it was not until the 18th of August, 1875, that a team of local amateur players decided to form the official Somerset County Cricket Club (SCCC), following a victorious match against a rival team in Sidmouth, Devon. As such, Somerset remain the only one of the present first-class counties, to have founded their cricket club outside the traditional county boundaries.
Surrey County Cricket Club Founded on the 22nd August 1845, Surrey County Cricket Club have been one of the most successful cricket counties in the country. With 18 County Championship victories in their history, only Yorkshire can boast moreSussex County Cricket Club Legend has it that cricket began in Sussex, with children inventing the game during Saxon or Norman times. Cricket became properly established in the county during the 1600s and there are records of village matches being played prior to the English Civil War. On the 17th of June, 1836, a meeting in Brighton resulted in the formation of a Sussex Cricket Fund.
Warwickshire County Cricket Club Warwickshire is one of the 18 major county cricket clubs that make up the English domestic cricket structure, and in recent times, one of the most successful. The team represents the county of Warwickshire, which incorporates the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Warwick and Leamington Spa. Its home is the leafy area of Edgbaston, Birmingham. However, rumours have emerged recently that they may move to the City of Birmingham stadium if, and when, it is built.
Worcestershire County Cricket Club While the official annals trace the origins of Worcestershire County Cricket back to the 4th March 1865, teams representing the county had been playing far before this. The first recorded incident of a Worcestershire side taking the field was on the 28th August 1844 when a match was played at Hartlebury Common against Shropshire
Yorkshire County Cricket Club The first references to cricket in the Yorkshire press appeared as early as the mid 1700s. A game between the Duke of Clevelands XI and the Earl of Northumberlands XI took place on the 5th August 1751. The teams had previously played in Durham County and this game was reportedly the replay, attesting to the long, and altogether indeterminate, lineage of the sport in Yorkshire.