LCCC Turns 140

Leicestershire County Cricket Club today celebrated with some of our longest supporting Members, players, coaches and backroom staff to mark 140 years since the club was founded on February 25, 1879.

Back in 1879, Leicestershire County Cricket Club was reformed on the lines we know today, and boasted many fine players such as Dick Pougher and Arthur Woodcock. The club was ranked as first-class is 1895, mainly due to the efforts of the captain Charles de Trafford.

The crowds drawn at Grace Road were initially small as only horse trams came to the bottom of the street, so fresh plans were made and the Aylestone Road ground opened in 1901. There were several household names such as Cecil Wood, Albert Knight, John King, Samuel Coe and Thomas Jayes.

After the Second World War, the club's lease at Aylestone Road was not renewed by the Corporation, so a new home had to be found. Fortunately, Grace Road was still there and the Education Committee allowed the club limited use.

In 1950, Charles Palmer joined as secretary and captain, subsequently to become Chairman and President. He was also elected President of MCC. Charles had the services of the two great Australian all-rounders, Vic Jackson and Jack Walsh, as well as local hero Maurice Tompkin.

The club benefitted greatly from the work of the highly influential Mike Turner, who had joined the professional staff in 1951. Mike was appointed Secretary in 1960, then later Manager and Chief Executive. He also introduced the Midlands K.O. Cup in 1962, the forerunner of present one-day cricket.

Tony Lock joined the county in 1965 and inspired so much improvement that culminated in a third placed finish. After he left, two poor years followed until Ray Illingworth came in 1969 to captain Leicestershire.

In that year, the great Australian Graham ‘Garth’ McKenzie joined the club and in 1972 the county won the Benson and Hedges Cup, the first major honour.

The John Player Sunday League was won in 1974 and again in 1977, but 1975 was Leicestershire's Annus Mirabilis when the County Championship was won for the first time in the club's history, the Benson and Hedges Cup was lifted for the second time and the Australians were defeated. The club also won the Under-25 Competition.

This same year saw the debut of one David Gower, without doubt the most talented and elegant batsman ever to represent Leicestershire and England, certainly for many decades.

The 1990s saw Leicestershire enjoy another highly successful period under the leadership of James Whitaker, winning the County Championship twice in the space of three years, 1996 and 1998.

The club also reached two other Lord's finals in that period, finishing as runners-up in the 1992 NatWest Trophy and the 1998 Benson and Hedges Cup, a position which was also achieved in the 1994 County Championship and the 2001 Sunday League competition.

More recently, Leicestershire have emerged as the most successful county in the exciting new form of Twenty20 Cup cricket, reaching each of the first four Finals Days and lifting the trophy twice in three years, firstly at Edgbaston in 2004 and then Trent Bridge in 2006.

In 2011 history repeated itself as the Foxes won their third title. On a rain-affected day at Edgbaston the side beat Lancashire Lightning in the semi-final in a game that was the first in history to go to a ‘Super Over’.

The Foxes then defended 145 in the final against Somerset. Paul Nixon’s catch to dismiss Kieron Pollard – full length diving one-handed to his right – is an image that will long live in the memory.

Nixon now leads the Foxes as the club’s Head Coach since returning for his third spell at the Fischer County Ground in 2018.

*There’s still time to join the Foxes Family as a Member as we look forward to a busy summer of cricket in 2019. Full Membership details can be found HERE.