Top 12 clubs set to play in cricket leagues revolution

Chief Executive Mark Arthur. PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM.
Chief Executive Mark Arthur. PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM.
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A plan to revolutionise league cricket in Yorkshire has the backing of the South Yorkshire Cricket League (SYCL).

The plan, put to all senior leagues in the county at a meeting at Headingley headed by the Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur, includes the mouthwatering prospect of all the top cricket clubs in South Yorkshire being in the same 12 team league.

The idea, which would see the end of the Yorkshire League in its current structure, is to have two new ECB Premier Leagues in Yorkshire - one in the South and one in the North.

Discussions are at an early stage and no decision will be taken without consultation with clubs but in a statement this weekend, the South Yorkshire League have welcomed the proposals.

If it comes to fruition, it is likely the five local Yorkshire League clubs - Barnsley, Doncaster Town, Rotherham Town and the Sheffield clubs, Collegiate and United - would join with the top seven South Yorkshire League clubs in a 12 team league.

That would be an exciting prospect for local cricket followers and certainly mean a stronger and more competitive league in this area.

The SYCL have confirmed it is taking a leading role in the talks which would change the face of league cricket but at the same time end, in its current format, the Yorkshire League, one of the ECB’s flagship leagues.

In a statement the SYCL said: “The Ben Bailey Homes SYCL can confirm that after an approach by Mark Arthur of Yorkshire CCC on behalf of the Yorkshire Cricket Board (YCB), it is taking a leading role in discussions with fellow senior league across the county, the YCB and Yorkshire CCC regarding a fundamental reorganisation of League cricket in Yorkshire.

“The project is a direct response to the findings of the recent ECB Player Survey which seeks to ensure that the needs and wishes of players are prioritised to enable clubs and Leagues to be sustainable in the long-term.

“One major finding was that the vast majority of players did not wish to travel long distances to play. The SYSCL is therefore supporting the concept of two new ECB Premier Leagues in Yorkshire.”

It is hoped that a new structure would be in place for the 2015 season but negotiations are at a very early stage. The SYCL say no decision will be made without consulting their clubs.