The North Yorkshire and South Durham League (NYSD) has become the 26th league in England and Wales to be awarded ECB premier league status.
All 14 clubs in the ‘A’ division have achieved Clubmark accreditation and have met and exceeded the criteria required by cricket’s governing body.
The NYSD League president, Chris West, said: “From start to finish this has taken four years, with the league quite properly required to meet the most exacting standards set.
“Many hurdles had to be overcome, but the plans we put in place almost a decade ago to rejuvenate, innovate and raise standards at all levels stood us in great stead. Our clubs and officials embraced this unanimously and with great enthusiasm.”
The 14 clubs in the new league are: Guisborough, Thornaby, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Sedgefield, Darlington, Barnard Castle, Richmondshire, Stokesley, Marske, Marton (Yorks), Billingham Synthonia, Great Ayton and Normanby Hall.
New Zealand’s Lance Cairns (Bishop Aukland) and former England players Wayne Larkins (Richmond), Chris Old and Bill Athey (Middlesbrough) are among the most illustrious professionals to have played club cricket in the area.
ECB Head of non-First Class Cricket Paul Bedford said: “I would like to commend the league and clubs for their hard work and commitment to achieving and in many cases exceeding the criteria for Premier League status.
“The addition of the North Yorkshire and South Durham League to the ECB Premier League portfolio is a great boost for cricket in the North East of England and further extends the access to top tier club cricket across England and Wales.”