A brief history of Northamptonshire

Sam Collins

Formed 1878
First-class debut 1905
Admitted to Championship1905
County Championship Best - Runners-up 1912, 1957, 1965, 1976. Winners - (Div Two) 2000
Gillette/NatWest/C&G 1976, 1992
Benson & Hedges 1980
Sunday League Best - 2nd(Div One) 2006
Twenty20 Best - Quarter-finals 2005, 2006

The history of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club can be traced as far back as 1820, although they did not form officially until 1878 when substantial reorganisation took place. They were granted first-class status in 1904 after the bowling of George Thompson and William East had helped them to dominate the Minor Counties Championship in the preceding years.

They found the going tough in the Championship in the early years, as despite their impressive bowling attack the team lacked depth to their batting. They did finish second in 1912 and fourth in 1913, but by the end of World War One their side had disbanded and they had returned to the lower echelons of the Championship. The inter-war period was a spectacularly unsuccessful one for the county, as they finished above second-last only four times between 1923 and 1948, including a period when they finished last every year between 1934 and 1938 and went 99 matches between May 14 1935 and May 29 1939 without a single County Championship win.

Northamptonshire reorganised well after World War Two, recruiting Freddie Brown from Surrey who would go on to captain England, as well as the Australians Jock Livingston, George Tribe and Jack Manning. They also boasted the England quick bowler Frank Tyson and the batsman Raman Subba Row, and were runners-up again in 1957 and 1965. Since then the club has had stalwarts such as Allan Lamb, Peter Willey, Rob Bailey and David Capel, as well as overseas players including Bishan Bedi, Kapil Dev, Curtly Ambrose and more recently Matthew Hayden and Mike Hussey, but their silverware has been confined to sporadic success in the one-day arena.

Sam Collins is a freelance journalist based in London