East Anglian Premier League 1999-Present
The East Anglian Premier Cricket League is the top level of competition for recreational club cricket in East Anglia covering Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and North Essex. Formed in 1999 as part of the England and Wales Cricket Board initiative of “Playground to Test Arena.” There are now over 20 Premier Leagues nationally and the EAPL is considered to be one of the five “Elite Premier Leagues”
The inaugural members of the League in 1999 were Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge St Giles, Cambridge Granta, Clacton, Godmanchester, Halstead, Mildenhall, Norwich, Swardeston & Vauxhall Mallards... The first ever League Champions were Vauxhall Mallards who have gone on to claim four further titles followed by Swardeston with four Bury St Edmunds with two Cambridge Granta two, and Norwich two,
The first club to be relegated were Cambridge St Giles CC in the season 2000 although they managed to stay in the League in part. Merging with Godmanchester to form Cambridge and Godmanchester an arrangement that lasted until 2004 when they went their separate ways.
Of the original line up in addition to Cambridge St Giles, Godmanchester, Halstead and Mildenhall have all dropped back to the feeder leagues of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Premier League, The Norfolk Alliance and the Two Counties Cricket Championship. In addition Fakenham, Maldon, Ramsey- Cambridgeshire and Sudbury, have also enjoyed spells in the League.
The League was set up to provide a pathway for young players into the First Class game and in fifteen years over a dozen players have made the step up headed by the current England Captain Alistair Cook coming through the Maldon youth set up and playing in the League for a few seasons .
The League has continued to evolve originally starting with 10 teams and increased to 12 in 2009. Saffron Walden moving over from the Essex Premier League the EAPL has a much closer working relationship with the five County boards cemented by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 2013.