The Middlesex County Cricket League was officially born in 1972 although a ‘dry run’ was held the previous season so everybody could hit the ground running. The unofficial champions were Hornsey CC and they followed this up with the official title the following year. Sadly, this was to prove the high water mark for the club as, despite a second title in 1981, they have never come close since.
The rest of the 1970s saw the spotlight fall upon two of the strongest clubs in the country at the time: Southgate and Finchley. The former won the National Cup in 1977 after the most successful league season ever the previous year when the only points dropped were to a cancelled match and a scores-level draw with Ealing when Southgate were left with six wickets in hand but a big difference in the number of overs faced.
The 1980s were split between Teddington, Enfield and Finchley with Teddington shading it with two National Finals (one win) against Enfield’s win in their only final and Finchley’s narrow defeat in their final whilst Finchley were the team of the 90s with a second hat-trick of titles and a variety of cups.
The noughties belonged almost entirely to Ealing who embarked on an unprecedented seven consecutive titles. The last two years have seen new first-time champion clubs in Winchmore Hill and Hampstead.
The Middlesex Cup has been in existence since 1969 when the only final staged at Lord’s saw Hornsey defeat South Hampstead. In the ensuing 44 years, although the competition has always been open to clubs from outside the County League, only on three occasions has the trophy left the League (although it is called the Cup, it is in fact a shield but then – what’s in a name, as somebody once said!).
The Evening Standard Challenge Trophy for senior clubs in the south east only existed for 16 years but in that time MCCL clubs won 12 titles with a further seven sides ending as runners-up. Until that era there had always been debate as to which league was the strongest – as legions of football fans say, “It’s all gone quiet over there”.
The League has also won the Club Cricket Conference Inter League Trophy eight times and were the only national inter league Champions – the fact that Northern Rock were the sponsors may give a hint as to why there was only ever one tournament.
Uniquely among the ECB Premier Leagues, the MCCL forbids both paid players and current first class overseas players.