The earliest confirmed reference to cricket in the county is a match announcement in Aris’ Gazette on 15 July 1751.
There was a prominent club in Coventry towards the end of the 18th century which played two well-documented matches against Leicester in 1787 and 1788. Reports of both games are included in Fresh Light on 18th Century Cricket by G B Buckley. Leicester won both games by 45 and 28 runs respectively.
Frank Foster, who first played as an amateur left arm pace bowler in 1908 but improved greatly in 1910 as a result of slowing his pace to gain accuracy, still stands as Warwickshire's greatest all-rounder. In 1911 he headed both batting and bowling averages and, along with a fully fit Frank Field, enabled Warwickshire to take the Championship from the "Big Six for the only time between 1890 and 1935. Foster and Field took between then 238 wickets, but in Wisden nobody doubted that Warwickshire's win was largely caused by an abnormally dry summer, and the following three years saw them return to mid-table although Foster in 1914 displayed all-round form equal to that of 1911.
In 1919, with Foster having had an accident that ended his short career, Warwickshire fell to last in the table. They did not improve a great deal until the 1930s when Bob Wyatt's captaincy and the bowling of Mayer, Paine and Hollies moved them to fourth in 1934, but as Paine rapidly declined, they fell away. When Wyatt left for Worcestershire after World War II, they declined even further despite Hollies' wonderful bowling in 1946 - with no support at all, he took 175 wickets for only 15 each. The acquisition of New Zealand speedster Thomas Pritchard gave Hollies the necessary support and by 1948 they had one of the strongest attacks in county cricket. It was this bowling power, along with effective if not wonderful batting, that gave them the Championship in 1951. However, as with 1911, they fell off rapidly as their batting became unreliable over the rest of the decade. After Hollies' retirement in 1957, there were some very poor seasons (though they came fourth in 1959 due to Mike Smith's superb batting) until Tom Cartwright emerged as a top-class seam bowler in 1962. The county came second in 1964, but did not establish itself at the top until the late 1960s. In 1971 Lance Gibbs' magnificent bowling enabled them to come second, whilst brilliant batting gave them a clear Championship win in 1972.
Yet again, though, a Championship win was followed by a decline and the next twenty years saw the county almost always in the lower half of the table. In 1981 and 1982, with Bob Willis doing nothing for them whilst producing match-winning form for England, they averaged over 45 runs for each wicket they took - still a record. Only under the coaching of Bob Woolmer and captaincy of Dermot Reeve (with their allowed foreign player being one of Brian Lara, Shaun Pollock or Allan Donald) did the team become consistently successful. Although they had won the NatWest Trophy in 1989, it was their astonishing victory in the same competition in 1993, overhauling a record score posted by Sussex in the final, which launched their most dominant period in English cricket. In 1994 they secured a historic treble, winning the County Championship, Axa Equity & Law League (now National Cricket League) and Benson & Hedges Cup. In that season Lara set the world record for a first-class cricket score of 501 whilst playing for Warwickshire against Durham County Cricket Club; the team total of 810-4 declared in that match is also a club record. In 1995 they won the County Championship again, and also won the C&G Trophy. This was to be the last trophy of Dermot Reeve's captaincy with him stepping down during the 1996 season, Bob Woolmer also having moved on to coach South Africa. 1997 saw them lifting the AXA league trophy once again, but this proved to be a false dawn. Performances for the next few years were poor, including relegation to the second division of the County Championship and National Cricket leagues.
However they have since been promoted in both competitions (though relegated again in the National Cricket League), won the Benson & Hedges Cup in 2002 and strong performances with the bat saw the county reclaim the County Championship in 2004. Warwickshire were once again promoted in the national cricket league, and will play in the top division of both competitions in 2006.
Until the year 2005, the club captain was Nick Knight, the coach was John Inverarity, and the Chief Executive was Dennis Amiss, though all three were stepped down at the end of the season. Heath Streak was appointed as captain for the 2006 and 2007 seasons, but resigned after one game of the 2007 season on 25 April 2007, and Darren Maddy replaced Streak as captain. Mark Greatbatch has signed a 3 year coaching contract and Colin Povey has been named as their new Chief Executive. Continuing the recent Warwickshire tradition of employing foreign bowlers South African cricketers Dale Steyn and Paul Harris were signed for the 2007 season.
After the first three games of the 2007 Championship season, they were lying at the top of the county table, following innings victories over Worcestershire CCC and defending champions Sussex CCC, and a draw with hotly-tipped Lancashire CCC. They had a 3 point lead over Yorkshire in the table. After their defeat of Derbyshire CCC, they were the only first class cricket club not to have been defeated in any competition so far at that point in the season. But this turned to a big disaster for Warwickshire who were relegated to Division two after not winning a single game since being top of the table in early May. They also got relegated from Pro40 league, a matter made worse when local rivals Worcestershire CCC clinched the title.
Since the end of the disastrous 2007 season Warwickshire made several changes to the team and management staff. Controversial coach Mark Greatbatch was sacked and Ashley Giles replaced him as Director of Cricket. Former Warwickshire Bear and South Africa international Allan Donald has joined the Bears' coaching staff. Fans favourite Dougie Brown also took up an Academy Coaching role.
Warwickshire CCC have also made several player changes for 2008. Alex Loudon has retired at 27 to seek a job in the city, Vaughn van Jaarsveld made a U turn on his 2 year contract with Warwickshire. The Bears have signed tall Irish international Boyd Rankin to bolster their bowling ranks. After a successful campaign in Division 2, the Bears were promoted back to the top flight after only a season's absence in September 2008
Warwickshire's first ever game in Twenty20 cricket was against Somerset at Taunton, where the Bears defeated the Sabres by 19 runs. This result was followed by wins over Worcestershire (by 20 runs), Glamorgan (by 68 runs), and Northamptonshire (by 54 runs). Gloucestershire, who finished first in the division, were the only team to beat the Bears when they won by 8 wickets at Edgbaston. This meant that Warwickshire finished second in the Midlands, West and Wales Division behind Gloucestershire, and qualified for the finals day as the best runner-up.
The finals day was held on the 19th July at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. Warwickshire met Leicestershire in their semi-final, who they defeated by 7 wickets, with Trevor Penney top scoring for the Bears with 43 runs. Surrey claimed victory over Gloucestershire in their semi-final to set up a Surrey-Warwickshire final. Unfortunately, Warwickshire were unable to perform in the final, and only scored 115 runs. Surrey managed to score 119 runs in just 11 overs, and claimed victory.
With expectations high at Edgbaston, Warwickshire entertained Somerset in the first clash of the 2004 season. The Bears secured victory by 7 wickets. After Warwickshire defeated Glamorgan (by 26 runs), things started to look bad for the Bears. Defeats against Worcestershire (by 3 wickets), and Northamptonshire (by 4 wickets), left the team in danger of not qualifying for the Quarter-Finals, but victory over Gloucestershire (by 2 wickets) on the last day, meant that Warwickshire qualified as one of the best third-placed team.
The Bears drew Glamorgan in the Quarter-Finals. Although they had managed to beat Glamorgan at Cardiff once, Warwickshire were not able to achieve victory again, and lost by 5 wickets to the Dragons, who progressed to the finals day, and eventually went out to the 2004 victors, the Leicestershire Foxes.
With changes to the format for the 2005 season, Warwickshire now had to play 8 games in the group stage to qualify. Their first game of the season was against Worcestershire at New Road, where the Bears lost by only 1 run. This was followed by defeats to Northamptonshire (by 38 runs), and another 1-run defeat to Worcestershire. Warwickshire secured qualification from the MMW division in second after victories over Glamorgan (by 20 runs and by 4 runs) Somerset (by 47 runs) Northamptonshire (by 41 runs), and a no result against Gloucestershire.
Warwickshire bowed out of the competition in the quarter-final to Surrey. After sharing a nail biting draw (Surrey 149 (20 Overs), Warwickshire 115 (15 Overs)), a bowl off followed, with Surrey claiming victory 4-3. Surrey would go on to be defeated in the Semi-Final to Lancashire, who themselves lost in the final to Somerset.
Warwickshire started the 2006 season by playing Northamptonshire at the County Ground, Northampton where the Bears won by 24 runs. This was followed by wins over Somerset (by 7 wickets) Northampton (by 20 runs) Worcestershire (by 11 runs), defeats to Glamorgan (by 6 wickets), Gloucestershire (by 3 runs), Worcestershire (by 4 runs), and a no result against Glamorgan. Warwickshire secured 3rd position in the table, but their record was worse than both Yorkshire and Kent (who both finished third in their respected leagues), and did not qualify for the quarter-final.
The final's day was once again controlled by Leicestershire, who beat Nottinghamshire in a spectacular final that lasted to the last over of the game.
Warwickshire recruited the services of twice winner, and Twenty20 expert Darren Maddy for the 2007 season, and his expertise helped the team to once again reach the quarter-finals of the competition. The Bears started with a victory over Somerset by 7 runs. This was followed by wins against Glamorgan (by 3 runs and by 9 runs) Northamptonshire (by 12 runs), Gloucestershire (by 27 runs), defeats against Northamptonshire (by 4 wickets), Worcestershire (by 13 runs), and no results against Worcestershire. The Bears qualified as the MMW leaders, with 11 points from 8 games.
In the quarter-final, Warwickshire hosted Lancashire in an entertaining game. After Lancashire set the Bears 194 to win, Warwickshire were able to claw back to 187 for 7, and lost by 7 runs. It was Lancashire who would go through to face Gloucestershire, Sussex, and Kent on the Finals day, held at Edgbaston in August.
|Time as Captain||Name||Notes|
|1902||H.W. Bainbridge and T.S. Fishwick|
|1907||T.S. Fishwick and J.F. Byrne|
|1948||H.E. Dollery and R.H. Maudsley|
|Name||Nat||Batting Style||Bowling Style||Notes|
|Ian Westwood||LHB||OS||Vice captain|
|Tim Groenewald||RHB||RFM||Classed as English through mother|
|Monde Zondeki||RHB||RF||Overseas player|
|Chris Martin||RHB||RFM||Overseas player|
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