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LEAGUE HISTORY

The History of Liverpool Business Houses Cricket League 1972-2020

Early in 1972 at the end of a football season the players from two football teams, North West Gas and St Margaret’s Academy (Essemay) were rueing a long summer without sport when someone asked if anyone would like to play cricket?

The idea was popular and phone calls to four other sports mad teams brought a positive response.

At a meeting at Northwest construction in Aintree in April of 1972 six teams decided to play cricket against each other. They were:-

British American Tobacco (BAT),

St Margaret’s Academy (Essemay),

British Gas,

Metal Box Speke,

Evans Medical (later Glaxo),

and

Brooks (a shirt manufacturer in Duke Street).

The league was won that first year by BAT and proved so popular that a committee was formed and the Liverpool Business Houses sports association was approached with the idea of inviting more clubs to join and expanding the league.

The committee consisted of John McDonald (BAT) who was the first league secretary, David Jones (Evans Medical) the first league chairman. An early treasurer was Peter Lawless (Post Office Engineers)

In 1973 the league had doubled in size and two divisions of six teams competed, new clubs included Giro (later Girobank), Norwest, and Harrison Lines (shipping).

By 1974 a third division was created to accommodate the expanding league and a fourth division was added in 1975 also a knockout competition was added in this year, the senior cup.

The Liverpool Business Houses sports association donated some silver cups to the cricket league and the teams now competed for these.

Fred Snelson (Daily Post and Echo) took over as chairman in the early 1970’s and Geoff Layhe (Singlehurst) as chairman in the late 1970’s. Also by the late 1970’s  Frank Short (North West Gas) had been elected league secretary and so began his long association with this organisation.

In 1986 Frank Short was still League Secretary, Paul Foulder (Glaxo) was chairman and George Foster (Liverpool DHA cc) was treasurer.

The number of league teams grew each year and the divisions expanded and then another was added on. By 1980 there were 40 teams playing and a decision was taken to open up the league to teams who were not part of the Liverpool Business Houses Association. This led to even more teams joining from pubs and clubs as well as organisations.

The peak for number of clubs was reached in 1990 when there were 68 teams playing in 7 divisions. That’s over 1,000 people playing midweek cricket regularly.

The number of teams started to dwindle as businesses closed down or stopped taking on new (young) staff and so clubs were struggling to get a team out. Teams folded or some merged and even when new teams were joining the league it seemed like 2 or 3 more were leaving.

By 1990 Frank Short was treasurer and Norman Sneddon was chairman, later chairmen included Jim Moffatt (Brickwall) and from 2005 until recently Mike Elson (British Telecom) Frank Short remained as league treasurer throughout until he retired from the league in 2017.

There was a danger that the league could fold however several teams wanted to continue and a new committee consisting of Lesley Allars (chairperson), Richard Phillip (treasurer) and Shane Byrne (secretary) were elected. This allowed a league to continue.

In 2019 we had  16 teams and Aaron Doran (development) having joined the committee. In 2019 we entered into a joint venture with the Liverpool Cricket Development Committee and the 5 Liverpool based cricket clubs - Alder, Sefton Park, Old Xavs, Wavertree and Liverpool - to form the Business Houses Bash. To even the numbers, Cheshire Lines were invited. The 6 teams competed in a round robin, followed by a finals day held at Wavertree. Sefton Park were the inaugral winners.

Due to the corona virus pandemic, the league did not take place in 2020, the first year since its inception in 1972. However, we are optimistic going into 2021 with 23 teams registered split into 3 divisions spaning Merseyside and the Wirral.