B&H winners

One of cricket's longest sponsorships - and the last one dependant on a tobacco company - came to an end in 2002 after 31 seasons. Established in 1972 in the wake of the success of the end-of-season 60-over competition and the resulting Sunday league, the B&H was always the League Cup final to the Gillette/NatWest's FA Cup. But, nevertheless, it was an immediate success, enjoying its heyday in the 1970s before settling down into comfortable middle-age in the 1980s. In its latter years it increasingly came under fire, critics arguing it was one competition too many and also attacking it for its rather clumsy system of zonal matches. The formatting was tinkered with several times but increasing legislation against tobacco advertising gave the authorities the chance to quietly kill the concept off.

In its defence, the B&H provided good income for the counties and some decent early-season entertainment. It also allowed non first-class sides to play against the big boys and, on occasion, beat them. In 1989 Combined Universities, led by Michael Atherton, came within a whisker of reaching the semi-finals, and eight years later Ireland pulled off a memorable win over Middlesex.

Benson & Hedges Cup

Winners Runners-up
1972 Leicestershire Yorkshire
1973 Kent Worcestershire
1974 Surrey Leicestershire
1975 Leicestershire Middlesex
1976 Kent Worcestershire
1977 Gloucestershire Kent
1978 Kent Derbyshire
1979 Essex Surrey
1980 Northamptonshire Essex
1981 Somerset Surrey
1982 Somerset Nottinghamshire
1983 Middlesex Essex
1984 Lancashire Warwickshire
1985 Leicestershire Essex
1986 Middlesex Kent
1987 Yorkshire Northamptonshire
1988 Hampshire Derbyshire
1989 Nottinghamshire Essex
1990 Lancashire Worcestershire
1991 Worcestershire Lancashire
1992 Hampshire Kent
1993 Derbyshire Lancashire
1994 Warwickshire Worcestershire
1995 Lancashire Kent
1996 Lancashire Northamptonshire
1997 Surrey Kent
1998 Essex Leicestershire
1999 Gloucestershire Yorkshire
2000 Gloucestershire Glamorgan
2001 Surrey Gloucestershire
2002 Warwickshire Essex

Summary of County wins
4 - Lancashire 3 - Gloucestershire, Kent, Leicestershire, Surrey 2 - Essex, Hampshire, Middlesex, Somerset 1 - Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Yorkshire

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