Cricket had probably reached the county of Northamptonshire (Northants) by the end of the seventeenth century. Northamptonshire County Cricket Club was founded in 1878 and joined the Minor Counties Championship in 1895. Having been successful at that level, Northants were promoted to the County Cricket Championship in 1905. Their home base is the County Cricket Ground, Northampton. Northants have never won the County Championship; they have been runners-up four times, most recently in 1976.
The first two references to cricket in the county are within a few days of each other in 1741. On Monday, 10 August, there was a match at Woburn Park between a Bedfordshire XI and a combined Northants and Huntingdonshire XI. On Tuesday, 18 August, a match played on the Cow Meadow near Northampton between two teams of amateurs from Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire is the earliest known instance of cricket being played in Northamptonshire county.
Formation of county club
On 31 July 1878, Northamptonshire County Cricket Club (Northants CCC) was officially founded at a meeting in the George Hotel, Kettering based on an existing organisation that dated back to 1820. The 1820 date, if it could be verified, would make Northants the oldest club in the County Cricket Championship. The club joined the Minor Counties Championship in 1895 and, having won the title in both 1903 and 1904, successfully applied for first-class status. They joined the County Championship in 1905 and played their inaugural first-class match against Hampshire at Southampton on 18, 19 & 20 May 1905.
- Waghorn, p. 27.
- Waghorn, H. T.: Cricket Scores, Notes, etc. (1730–1773). Blackwood (1899).