The North Lindsey cricket league is a club cricket competition that currently runs in old borough of North Lindsey in Lincolnshire, England. The league is a secondary cricket league in Lincolnshire made up of village sides, 2nd or 3rd XI sides of larger teams and teams unable to pass the criteria to join the main cricket competition in the area, the Lincolnshire County Cricket League. The league is a 40 over competition playing on Sundays following the more traditional format of Sunday cricket
The league was formed for the 1953 season by a number of local clubs unhappy with the state of grounds in the Scunthorpe and District Cricket League. Appleby Frodingham, Broughton, and Sun Engineers (Crowle) argued at many league meetings throughout 1951–52 that their young cricketers, in particular, could not learn to keep the ball on the ground with the bat due to the long outfields on some of the village grounds.
Everything came to a head at the 1952 Scunthorpe and District League Annual General Meeting. A rule change was proposed by the league management committee to create a Yorkshire Council style tournament where clubs made their own fixtures and a percentage league table (minimum 14 fixtures) would be created to play off for the Dinsdale Cup (top 4) and the Jackson Cup (pos 5 to 8). Village clubs knew this meant they wouldn't get a chance to play on the better grounds at Senior Clubs in the area.
Broughton had protested at the safety of the wicket at Winteringham although that specific instance in 1951 was actually a Junior Charity Cup fixture and it involved many other factors not ground related including the Winteringham players not wearing whites. Winterton also had issues, using three different grounds, they argued they had to play on a football pitch and that they couldn't prepare a wicket until after the football season had finished. West Butterwick CC, regular winners of the league championship since the war felt Appleby Frodingham, in particular, had a duty to remain in the league as village clubs enjoyed a day out at Brumby Hall, adding that the rule change would in no way benefit their club. Mr Arrand of Scotter called it a "punishment" for village clubs.
Mr JR Callaghan, the Appleby Frodingham delegate said all clubs should consider the improvement for cricket across the district. Norman Graham-Youll of Sun Engineers commented that clubs could save a great deal of money on reducing mileage (they hired buses for every away journey), the surplus money could be spent on ground improvement. Mr WE Plowright (chairman of the Scunthorpe League) wound the argument up with a great deal of concern for the divide creeping into cricket in the District. The rule change was defeated 14 votes to 12. Broughton and Appleby Frodingham resigned on the night and Sun Engineers followed shortly after.
A breakaway league was formed with a specific emphasis on monitoring the quality of grounds. Redbourn 'A and Firth Browns also joined from the Scunthorpe League, Scunthorpe Co-op ended their one year stint in the Grimsby and District League, Scunthorpe Nomads (based at Quibell Park) also left that competition and they were joined by Epworth to compliment Appfrod, Broughton and Sun Engineers as the 8 inaugural members
From the original first season in 1953 to 1969 the North Lindsey league grew in strength while the Scunthorpe and Disctict league lost clubs to both the Lindsey league and the newly formed Lincolnshire county cricket league. Teams such as Scunthorpe Co-op, Lysaghts 2s, Redbourn 'A, Normanby Park 2s, and Scunthorpe British Rail all left the Scunthorpe league to joining the Lindsey league and in 1969 the league made the decision to create a second division. The added division meant that the Scunthorpe League could not carry on and it folded in the winter of 1969 with all the remaining teams joining the Lindsey league.
With the Lincolnshire county cricket league becoming the primary cricket league for the area and the lowering of the standard of the grounds due to Scunthorpe League teams joining, the league ended up having the same issues that came up when the league was first formed. In 1980 the Humberside Alliance league was formed, creating a Saturday league for clubs unable to enter the Lincolnshire league. This lead to a reduction in teams during the 1980s and the league was only able to keep 2 division2 due to teams in the first division fielding 2nd teams in the 2nd. By the end of the 1980s a decision had to be made, and the league decided to move completely to Sundays, starting with the 1992 season and rebrand itself as a Sunday league with an emphasis on friendlier cricket.
Once moved to Sundays the league went from strength to strength in the 1990s and quickly went up to 4 divisions. Due to the boundaries not being set for the league teams from further afield who played their Saturday cricket in the Bassetlaw League, South Yorkshire League and Pontefract League came to join. Teams such as Marshalls Sports, Ross Sports and Lea Park from Gainsborough joined, Misterton, who are in the Isle of Axholme but officially in Nottinghamshire stopping them from playing in the Lincolnshire league played in the league for several years and villages around Bawtry such as Wiseton, Upton Cum Kexby and Laughton all played in the league in its heyday.
At the turn of the century, cricket playing had declined massively, and with the full restructuring of English cricket in 2000 caused clubs to move into ECB recognized league. The 4th Division was removed in 2001 but during this time the top division was still celebrated for its high standard of Sunday cricket, with players playing in high level cricket on a Saturday turning out for the village teams of Gunness, Burton upon Stather, Outcasts and Laughton. By the end of the 2000s though and the start of the 2010s the league lost more clubs, with the league mainly made up of 3rd, 4th or Academy XI sides of established Saturday teams and by 2016 the 3rd Division was scrapped.
In 2016 the league decided to restructure and made a push to be a more friendly cricket league with an emphasis on giving everyone a game and bringing on youth. The divisional cups were scrapped and the main cup competition was turned into a round robin 30 over competition that is played through the month of June. The league has also decided to end in early August instead of Mid September to avoid the traditional school summer holiday period where clubs fielding younger sides may struggle to fulfill fixtures.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, the league decided to cancel the full season, being the first season in 60 years to not take place