Cricket leagues explore link-up

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The Halifax League is in exploratory talks with the Huddersfield Central League over a possible merger within the new pyramid system.

While league chiefs are reluctant to give details over how a link-up might work, it is though that there might be a regionalised section made up largely of clubs in the Huddersfield Central League, which could only have 14 teams next year.

A press statement from the two leagues said: “The Solly Sports Huddersfield Central Cricket League and The Spenser Wilson Halifax Cricket League are jointly co-operating in an exercise to establish if the two leagues could work together in the interests of local amateur cricket.  

“Both leagues are the only local members of the new YCB Yorkshire Pyramid West, headed by the Bradford Premier League, and the first major impact of this new structure could occur in 2017. 

“An exploratory meeting has taken place ​and it is likely that further discussions will follow during the summer.

Updates will be issued if or as when required.”

Illingworth St Mary’s application to join the Halifax League in 2017 has been given an overwhelming thumbs up.

It was announced at last night’s Halifax League meeting at Pellon club that they had been granted admission by a 28-0 margin with two clubs not voting.

Club representative David Lawton said the Jammy Green outfit had been confident their application would be accepted but were grateful for the level of support they had received.

Illingworth will be ending a 55-year association with the Aire/Wharfe League and Lawton said there would be some sadness.

“For some of the older club members it will be quite poignant,” he said.

The main reason for Illingworth’s switch is that players want less travelling for away games.

Illingworth’s third team and junior sides have played in the Halifax League for some time.

Paul Whiteley, the acting chairman for Tuesday’s meeting, said this year’s Halifax League champions would have the option of stepping up to the next level of the pyramid.

If the winners decided to move up only one team would be relegated from the Premier Division.

Fixture and registrations secretary Peter Taylor said he had received only 19 transfers or new registrations compared to 187 by the same time last year.

The number of teams in the junior league stood at 76, six down on 2016, with the under 17s league down to 10 teams but the under 15s up from 10 to 13.

Taylor said he was “slightly worried” by the drop off in the older age group but overall the junior league was buoyant and in good shape.

Umpires’ official Andrew Mitchell said there was a desperate short of umpires and appealed for clubs to address the situation.

He said the league was 11 umpires short for the second week of the season and he had “no chance” of plugging the gaps.

Of the four clubs affected by flooding at the end of 2015, only Sowerby Bridge’s ground will not be fit for the start of the season.

They will play first and second team games at Stainland and Sunday Section games all away.

Rastrick CC will stage the Sunday Section cup final for a second successive year after last year’s game was hit by bad weather.