Cricket: Skippers back cricket change plans

Alex Fletcher, captain of Whitley Hall CC
Alex Fletcher, captain of Whitley Hall CC
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THE prospect of a new cricketing structure which would strengthen the game within the region has been welcomed by captains of two of the leading South Yorkshire League clubs.

Talks over a possible reorganisation of league cricket in Yorkshire have started and Yorkshire CCC and the Yorkshire Cricket Board have been taking a lead role.

Although the talks are only in the very early stages, any such restructuring throws up the prospect of a strengthened South Yorkshire League (SYL) with the possibility of the region’s five Yorkshire League clubs - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield Collegiate and Sheffield United - being involved in a revamped SYL Premier section.

Alex Fletcher, captain of SYL club Whitley Hall who were Black Sheep Yorkshire champions in 2011 and 2012, has welcomed the possibility.

“We would be all for it,” said Alex. “Anything that strengthens the level of cricket would be beneficial and we would want to be part of it.

“We have enjoyed success on a county-wide basis in recent seasons and it’s been great. Anything that is more competitive, playing more competitive games in a stronger league is good. We’d be keen to be involved and look forward to hearing about the plans when a meeting is called.”

Former Yorkshire player Ian Swallow, captain of 2013 SYL champions Elsecar, said he had heard the talk about it and felt change was a possibility.

“It would make our league stronger and there are obvious plus points,” he said. “I’ve played in the Yorkshire League where there can be a lot of travelling. Clubs have to think about costs, of travel etc., and there are clubs having difficulty meeting those costs.”

Yorkshire League (YL) chairman Steve Ward, from Doncaster, said talks about the reorganising league cricket were only in the embryonic stage.

“It is not the end of the Yorkshire League, “ he said. “Our clubs will decide, we take our lead from them. We will call a meeting before Christmas and clubs will give us their views on the proposals.”