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Wickets pitched for York & District Cricket League’s centenary campaign
10:35am Saturday 14th April 2012 in Sport
A CENTURY of cricketing excellence is being celebrated by the Hunters York & District Senior League.
The build-up to the centenary season of the area’s premier competition starts in earnest tomorrow with the traditional curtain-raising President’s Trophy match.
Reigning premier division champions Woodhouse Grange will host Premier Cup winners Sessay at their Sutton-on-Derwent base, starting at 1.30pm.
The league season kicks into gear next Saturday, with 120 teams in action some 100 years after the first balls were bowled in anger by the competition’s six founder clubs.
The Thirsk & District Senior Cricket League was founded in 1912 with those six member clubs, four of which have figured throughout the league’s history.
Easingwold, Thirsk and Sessay boast continual membership, while Ripon have returned after an 11-year absence.
The competition was renamed the York & District Senior Cricket League in 1932.
Easingwold were the champions in the inaugural 1912 campaign, under the captaincy of George Coatsworth.
The skipper was reportedly the first Senior League superstar, turning in some impressive performances with the ball and also as a big-hitting batsman.
Inspired by Coatsworth, Easingwold won the title on five occasions in the first seven years either side of World War One.
Thirsk dominated in the 1920s, winning five times in six years.
After that, the title tended to change hands, with the exception of Acomb’s hat-trick of wins in the 1980s, Woodhouse Grange’s record four-year run in the mid-1990s and Dunnington’s title treble from 2001 to 2003.
Membership numbers remained static until 1939, when nine clubs competed in the final year before World War Two.
Expansion came in 1953, when a second division lifted the number of clubs to 18, although a reserve division had been introduced in 1948.
The league has continued to expand since that period. The number of clubs in 1972 was 29, but that rose to 35 by 1987.
The 1998 addition of a premier division hoisted the competing clubs to 45.
With the introduction of the Eastern Conference for the forthcoming campaign, there will be a total of 74 clubs fielding 120 teams.
Over the course of the last 100 years, 72 clubs have been members at one time or another.
Easingwold have been the most successful club, winning the championship on 15 occasions.
On the wider stage, three member clubs have put the league on the map by winning the National Village Cup. Woodhouse Grange were triumphant in 1995 and 2007, Sheriff Hutton Bridge lifted the title in 2005 and Sessay prevailed at Lord’s in 2010.
The Premier League Cup has been run for 37 years, with Woodhouse Grange the first to get their hands on the trophy in 1975. They have won it nine times in all.
Dunnington are eight-time winners, including seven successive victories from 1998 to 2004, while Easingwold have lifted the trophy on six occasions.
The spin-off Indoor League was brought in for the 1986 season, while a Sunday Intermediate League was introduced in 2005.