Northowram Hedge Top and Shelf cricket clubs are to join forces in the Spencer Wilson Halifax League for the 2018 season.
The pair, who have both been struggling for players in recent years, will play under the Shelf Northowram Hedge Top CC banner at Hedge Top Lane.
Talks between key members of the clubs, which are a couple of miles apart, started at the end of last season and league press officer Paul Whiteley confirmed today that Shelf had now resigned from the league and players and officials were in the process of being merged into Northowram Hedge Top CC.
The teams would operate in the same divisions as last season’s Hedge Top club with the firsts in the Premier Division and the seconds in Division One.
Sixteen players from Shelf are reported to have signed transfer forms to play for the merged club, which has applied to run a third team in the Halifax Sunday League this summer.
Shelf intend to keep using their historic ground, which is behind the Shoulder of Mutton pub on Carr House Road, for Bradford Evening League matches in 2018.
Shelf’s resignation has been added to that of Jer Lane, who have joined the Bradford League. Which teams will play in which divisions next season is expected to be confirmed after an executive meeting on Monday, January 15.
Both Shelf and Northowram Hedge Top have issued statements via the league.
Shelf, who were one of the first winners of the Halifax Parish Cup in 1897, said they had struggled to obtain a new lease on their ground since joining the Halifax League from the Bradford Central League in 2007.
That had held them back in their efforts to improve facilities.
“Additionally our landlord has submitted planning permission to build houses on the ground which has left the club in a very vulnerable situation with player retention and recruitment becoming a massive issue.”
Shelf held an emergency meeting earlier this year and decided to approach other local clubs who also had concerns over the future. The agreement with Northowram Hedge Top was the upshot.
“Throughout this process both Shelf CC and Northowram Hedge Top CC have been committed to the common goal of ensuring the Halifax Cricket League is strengthened by avoiding the potential loss of two established clubs.
“We believe this has been achieved and look forward to the commencement of the 2018 season.”
Northowram Hedge Top said the 2017 season had been “incredibly difficult” at times and a meeting had been called on September 17 to discuss the future of the club.
Talks with Shelf followed and had reached a positive outcome.