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|Format||2-day matches (with 1-day matches)|
|Tournament format||home and away|
|Number of teams||18|
|Current champion||Melbourne (2019/20)|
|Most successful||21 Melbourne|
|Most runs||Warren Ayres (15,277)|
|Most wickets||Bert Ironmonger (862)|
Victorian Premier Cricket is a club cricket competition in the state of Victoria administered by Cricket Victoria. Each club fields four teams (firsts through to fourths) of adult players and usually play on weekends and public holidays. Matches are played on turf wickets under limited-time rules, with most results being decided on a first-innings basis. Outstanding players in the competition are selected to play for the Victorian Bushrangers at first-class and List A level, in the Sheffield Shield and Marsh One Day Cup competitions respectively. The competition commenced in the 1906–07 season when it was known as "District cricket", and was renamed in 1990. Separate competitions for one-day matches (2002–03) and Twenty20 (2005–06) were later established.
Inter-club cricket in Melbourne had its beginnings during the 1850s, with matches arranged on an informal basis. The newspapers usually decided the season's best team via the consensus of journalists. In 1870, the Challenge Cup was introduced, beginning an era of more structured competition.
For the 1889–90 season, a program of Pennant Matches was devised over eight rounds, which began the era of club competition recognisable today. The original competing teams were Carlton, East Melbourne, Essendon, Fitzroy, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Port Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, South Melbourne, University and Williamstown. There were no restriction on the recruitment of players and the stronger clubs (such as East Melbourne, Melbourne and South Melbourne) attracted the leading players, and other teams remained very weak. By the turn of the twentieth century, the unevenness of the competition resulted in a lack of public support.
The solution was found in "electorate" or "District" cricket whereby players needed a residential qualification to play for their club. In 1903, a VCA sub-committee recommended the implementation of the system. Due to many differences of opinion (most notably, the powerful Melbourne Cricket Club dissented), District cricket did not commence until 1906.
The twelve inaugural District teams were Carlton, Collingwood (newly formed), East Melbourne, Essendon, Fitzroy, Hawksburn (which became Prahran the following year), Melbourne, North Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, South Melbourne and University. A promotion and relegation system between two grades was originally envisioned, and the premier club of second grade, Northcote, was promoted for 1907–08. However, last-placed Collingwood was not relegated and the idea dispensed with. The second grade was re-constituted as the Victorian Sub-District competition, comprising Brighton, Caulfield, Coburg, Elsternwick, Hawthorn, Malvern, Port Melbourne and Williamstown.
The uneven number of teams necessitated a bye, which remained 1929–30 when the VCA Colts team was included. The Colts team competed for eleven seasons but disbanded during World War II. Matches continued through the war (although they were not for points) and Footscray was admitted for 1948–49 to eliminate the bye. The next expansion occurred in 1974 when two clubs representing outer-suburban areas, Ringwood and Waverley, were promoted from Sub-District. Eighteen sides have participated since 1993–94 when teams from Geelong and the Mornington Peninsula were admitted. The finals system, previously consisting of four teams, was enlarged to a final six in 1997–98 season, later changing to a final eight.
|Colours||Club||Emblem||Formed||Home ground||1st XI
|Black, White, Green and Gold||Camberwell Magpies||Magpies||1906||Camberwell Sports Ground, Camberwell||4||1906–07||Inaugural club (Collingwood); amalgamated with Camberwell (Sub-District) in 1996–97|
|Navy Blue||Carlton||Blues||1864||Princes Park, North Carlton||9||1906–07||Inaugural club|
|Red and White||Casey-South Melbourne||Swans||1862||Casey Fields, Cranbourne East||3||1906–07||Inaugural club (South Melbourne), relocated and renamed in 2005–06|
|Navy, Red and White||Dandenong||Panthers||1908||Shepley Oval, Dandenong||3||1974–75||Promoted from Sub-District in 1974–75 as Waverley; amalgamated with and moved to Dandenong (Sub-District) in 1989–90 as Waverley-Dandenong; renamed Dandenong-Waverley in 1992–93; renamed Dandenong in 1994–95|
|Black and Red||Essendon||Bombers||1872||Windy Hill, Essendon||2||1906–07||Inaugural club|
|Maroon and Gold||Fitzroy Doncaster||Lions||Schramm's Reserve, Doncaster||10||1906–07||Inaugural club (Fitzroy); amalgamated with Doncaster (Sub-District) in 1986–87|
|Navy, Red and White||Footscray||Bulldogs||Merv Hughes Oval, Footscray||2||1948–49||Promoted from Sub-District in 1948; known as Footscray-Victoria University from 2000-01 until 2003-04, then as Footscray-Edgewater from 2004–05 until 2016–17|
|Royal Blue, Red and Gold||Frankston Peninsula||Heat||AH Butler Oval, Frankston||0||1993–94||Promoted from Sub-District in 1993–94|
|Navy and White||Geelong||Cats||Kardinia Park, Geelong||0||1993–94||Promoted from Sub-District in 1993–94|
|Royal Blue and Black||Greenvale||Kangaroos||Greenvale Recreation Reserve, Greenvale||0||1906–07||Inaugural club (North Melbourne); temporarily amalgamated with Geelong (sub-district) as North Melbourne–Geelong from 1985 to 1986 until 1987–88; amalgamated with and moved to Greenvale in 2013–14|
|Navy, Gold and Red||Kingston Hawthorn||Hawks||1860||Walter Galt Reserve, Parkdale||9||1906–07||Inaugural club (East Melbourne); amalgamated with and moved to Hawthorn (Sub-District) in 1921–22 as Hawthorn-East Melbourne; moved to Waverley in 1989-90 and renamed Hawthorn-Waverly in 1994-95; amalgamated with Monash University (Sub-District) in 2001–02 as Hawthorn-Monash University and moved to the Monash University Sports Complex in Clayton in 2004; amalgamated with Kingston Saints (Sub-District) in 2015–16 and moved to Parkdale as Kingston Hawthorn.|
|Red, Navy and White||Melbourne||Demons||1838||Albert Cricket Ground, Melbourne||21||1906–07||Inaugural club, but ineligible for the premiership until 1914–15|
|Yellow and Black||Monash||Tigers||1854||Central Reserve, Glen Waverley||6||1906–07||Inaugural club (Richmond); relocated to Glen Waverley in 2010–11, and changed its trading name to Monash Tigers in 2013–14 (although the club is legally still known as Richmond).|
|Green and Gold||Northcote||Dragons||Bill Lawry Oval, Northcote||5||1907–08||Promoted from Sub-District 1907–08|
|Navy Blue||Prahran||True Blues||Toorak Park, Armadale||7||1906–07||Inaugural club (Hawksburn); renamed Prahran in 1907–08.|
|Navy and Gold||Ringwood||Rams||Jubilee Park, Ringwood||3||1974–75||Promoted from Sub-District 1974|
|Yellow, Black and Red||St Kilda||Saints||1855||Junction Oval, St Kilda||18||1906–07||Inaugural club|
|Black and Royal Blue||University||Students||1856||University of Melbourne campus, Parkville||3||1906–07||Inaugural club|
Premierships correct to the end of 2019/20 season.
First presented in 1972–73, the award for the best player of the season is named after Jack Ryder, the former Australian captain who had a long and distinguished career with Collingwood.
|1981–82||Mick Taylor||South Melbourne|
|1986–87||Warren Whiteside||St Kilda|||
|1987–88||Wayne N. Phillips||South Melbourne|
|1988–89||Richard McCarthy||North Melbourne|||
|1989–90||Warren Whiteside||St Kilda|
|1990–91||Warren Whiteside||St Kilda|
|2004–05||Simon Dart||Hawthorn/Monash Uni.|
|2006–07||Graeme Rummans||St Kilda|
|2007–08||Steven Spoljaric||Hawthorn/Monash Uni.|
|2008–09||Gareth Cross||St Kilda|
|2009–10||Graeme Rummans||St Kilda|
|2011–12||Clive Rose||Casey-South Melbourne|
|2017–18||Trent Lawford||Fitzroy Doncaster|
John Scholes Medal
Presented in season 2001–02 under the name of Cricket Victoria Medal, the John Scholes medal is awarded to the best player in the Victorian Premier Cricket 1st XI final. The name was changed for the 2003–04 season.
|2001–02||JL Travaglia||Fitz Donc|
|2002–03||GC Rummans||St Kilda|
|2003–04||GC Rummans||St Kilda|
|2004–05||TDB O'Sullivan||St Kilda|
|2005–06||M Klinger||St Kilda|
|2012–13||Matthew Begbie||Melbourne CC|
|2015–16||Peter Dickson||Fitzroy Doncaster|
|2019–20||Final not contested|
In the post-war period, the competition has faced the challenge of periodic restructuring to reflect the growing metropolitan area of Melbourne. This has been achieved by amalgamating and relocating clubs. In 1985 Fitzroy moved its base to Doncaster, forming Fitzroy/Doncaster. Similarly, in 1989, Hawthorn/East Melbourne relocated to Glen Waverley in the eastern suburbs, and was later renamed Hawthorn/Waverley in 1994. The club merged with Sub-District club Monash University, to become Hawthorn/Monash University seven years later. The move of Hawthorn/East Melbourne caused Waverley to move to Dandenong, and the new team played as Waverley/Dandenong, but dropped Waverley from its name for the 1994–95 season.
Two more inner-suburban clubs have reorganised. Prior to the 1996–97 season, Collingwood left Victoria Park and amalgamated with Sub-District club Camberwell to become Camberwell Magpies based at the Camberwell Sports Ground, while prior to the 2000–01 season, Footscray became Footscray/Victoria University. The latter club is now known as Footscray Edgewater due to a unique business partnership with the residential development adjoining its home ground, the Merv Hughes Oval.
Victorian Premier Cricket is run by the Cricket Victoria's Pennant Committee, which deals with grounds, fixtures, playing dates, venues, umpires, ladders, player eligibility and registrations, disputes, rules changes etc. The Pennant Committee comprises five delegates elected at the AGM of Cricket Victoria held every August. Currently, the members are Russell Thomas (Chairman), Kevan Carroll, John Malligan, John McConville and Ken Stone. Matters concerning player behaviour are dealt with a tribunal convened by Cricket Victoria and is made up of an independent chairman two Pennant Committee members, providing that their club is not involved in the match in question.
- "Ayres chasing Premier record in the game – Cricket". The Age. 22 January 2005. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- "Victorian Premier Cricket". Premier.cricketvictoria.com.au. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- Liam McAleer (31 December 2013). "Hume Leader looks back on the biggest stories of 2013". Hume Leader. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Victorian Premier Cricket". Premier.cricketvictoria.com.au. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- Toby Prime (2 April 2018). "Premier Cricket final: Dandenong crushes Fitzroy-Doncaster in decider with Test quick Peter Siddle man of the match". Greater Dandenong Leader. Retrieved 10 September 2018.