Which were South Africa’s most successful first-class provinces before franchise cricket?

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Franchise cricket will not form part of South Africa’s first-class structure next year.

The country’s premier first-class competition will comprise 15 provinces later this year.

Western Province, rather than the Cape Cobras; Free State, not the Knights, KwaZulu-Natal Inland and Coastal; instead of the Dolphins and others will represent the regions. This hasn’t happened since 2003-04.

SA’s first-class competition winners – 1979-80 to 2003-04

Season Winner Runner-Up
2003-04 Western Province KwaZulu-Natal
2002-03 Easterns Western Province
2001-02 KwaZulu-Natal Northerns
2000-01 Western Province Border
1999-2000 Gauteng Border
1998-99 Western Province Border
1997-98 Orange Free State (now Free State) Eastern Province
1996-97 Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) Western Province
1995-96 Western Province Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1994-95 Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) Northern Transvaal (now Northerns)
1993-94 Orange Free State (now Free State) Western Province
1992-93 Orange Free State (now Free State) Eastern Province | Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) | Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1991-92 Eastern Province Orange Free State (now Free State)
1990-91 Western Province Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1989-90 Western Province | Eastern Province
1988-99 Eastern Province Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1987-98 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Orange Free State (now Free State)
1986-87 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Western Province
1985-86 Western Province Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1984-85 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Northern Transvaal (now Northerns)
1983-84 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Western Province
1982-83 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Western Province
1981-82 Western Province Transvaal (now Gauteng)
1980-81 Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) Western Province
1979-80 Transvaal (now Gauteng) Western Province

Total first-class titles – 1979-80 to 2003-04

  • Western Province: 8 (one shared)
  • Transvaal (now Gauteng): 7
  • Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal): 4
  • Eastern Province: 3 (one shared)
  • Orange Free State (now Free State): 3
  • Easterns: 1

Before 1980

Transvaal (now Gauteng), Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal), Orange Free State (now Free State) and others featured from 1889 to 1970, too. Read the list of winners prior to 1980.

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