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History of the League

At a meeting in March 1969 eleven clubs   decided to form a Southern League for the coming season. Basingstoke & NH, Bournemouth Amateurs, Bournemouth Sports, Deanery, Gosport Borough, Havant, Old Tauntonians, South Hants TC, South Wilts, Trojans and Waterlooville played each other once and Trojans emerged as the first winners.

In 1971 Basingstoke moved on to the Thames Valley League and was replaced by Hyde Ramblers from Winchester. Southampton University joined to raise the strength to 12 clubs. In 1973 a Second Eleven competition (made up from the12 Clubs)  was started with the University the first winners.

Discussions took place in 1976 after Poole joined to increase the Southern League to 16 clubs. Membership of the Second Eleven competition became mandatory and Hythe & Dibden, Lymington New Milton and Petersfield were invited to join the Southern League after an Extraordinary General Meeting in 1977.

In 1977 the Echo Trophy replaced the County Ground knockout with Trojans winning the first final.

Following a desire to have independent umpires officiating at least in Division one, several Club Umpires were approached by the Management of the League and with the help of  Ray Holyer, Roy Harrison and Alan Bundy, the South Coast Panel was formed in 1988 to officiate in Southern League matches.

 

At the 1989 AGM minimum requirements necessary to remain in the Southern League were agreed and the Accreditation process began…

In 1990/91 the Hampshire Pyramid came into being allowing Promotion and Relegation throughout the Southern League and Hampshire League. The Second Eleven Championship closed and the Second Elevens were integrated into the Hampshire League at the end of the 1990 season. To accommodate the change the Southern League was increased from 16 Clubs to 18 with the introduction of Alton and Calmore. The first promotion from the Hampshire County 1 saw Hungerford join the Southern League at the loss of Poole.

In 2000 the ECB introduced Premier Leagues.  The Southern League gained ECB accreditation  and The Southern Premier Cricket League was formed and in 2000 the dual Limited Over and Time format was accepted by the ECB. Three Divisions comprising 10 teams in Division One and Two and 18 in Division Three.  A Grounds & Facilities Accreditation System developed over some years has gradually improved the standards of pitches, outfields and facilities. The requirement of Youth cricket at U11, U13 and U15 was also included as part of  the accreditation standards.

In 2002, with the resignation of Cove CC a vacancy occurred and after some detailed consideration and negotiation with Tony Middleton Hampshire CC, the Hampshire Academy joined the SEPCL filling the vacancy in Division 2. The ambition was to give the most promising youngsters the opportunity of playing competitively  at the highest level of recreational cricket. Special regulations for registration were carefully considered and accepted by the Clubs. The Academy were promoted to the ECB Division 1 where they remain at present. Judging by the number of Academy players who have progressed to First Class level the acceptance of the Academy into the league proved a success.

2012 AGM saw further change with the introduction of Four Divisions of ten teams. Basingstoke & North Hants 1st & 2nd Elevens rejoined the League to make 40 sides participating. Thus the ECB Premier League, Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3 were introduced at the start of the 2013 season