Norfolk League is 40 not out

One of the pioneers of the Norfolk Cricket League has told how it was formed almost by accident and spoken of his pride that it is still going strong after 40 years.

Peter Emms, now 72, told how the league was set up after representatives of half a dozen clubs were turned away from a Norfolk Alliance meeting to which they wrongly thought they had been invited to.

“We politely got turned out of the meeting at Pinebanks, went to another little room bought a pint and said ‘ why don’t we set up our own league’ and it has grown from that.”

From a handful of teams that had been playing friendlies against each other, the Norfolk League expanded swiftly and is now a much-loved feature of the county sporting landscape with over a 100 sides in action every Saturday at its peak.

“Every time I see the Norfolk League and read about it in the paper I feel I have done my little bit to get it started. I feel quite proud of it.

“All in all I think it has been great for Norfolk cricket. I am thrilled it has gone as well as it did,” said Emms, who was secretary for the first five years.

Emms said representatives of around half a dozen clubs had turned up at the meeting after reading a story in the EDP which implied that all interested clubs would be welcome, which turned out not to be the case.

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Other people that Emms, representing Norwich Woodrow CC, recalled being at the inaugural meeting were: Rodney Myhill (Acle), Dick Wright (Overstrand), Tom Bartram of Brooke, who was to become the league’s first chairman and is now life president, and a representative of St Barnabas, the Norwich club, based at Postwick, which won the league in the first season.

Emms, who now lives at Stow Bridge, West Norfolk, played on until the age of 50, also turning out for Brooke and CEYMS, before deciding to devote his time to his son’s career as a chess professional.