Cricket: Lancashire League expansion plans up for (more) discussion

Todmorden captain Andrew Sutcliffe.
Todmorden captain Andrew Sutcliffe.

Todmorden Cricket Club will be pretty much in the dark over Lancashire Cricket League expansion plans until December 10 – at the earliest.

The proposals were put on hold earlier this month by the LCB in order to give them time to consult with club officials and players in the four leagues involved.

At the time, Lancashire League chairman Mike Bibby said: “A meeting [also involving LCB and ECB officers] was held between representatives of the Lancashire, Northern and Ribblesdale Leagues, together with the Palace Shield.

“The main business on the agenda was the proposed expansion plans of the Lancashire League and how this may affect the three other leagues concerned.

“Objections have been expressed by both the Northern and Ribbesdale Leagues who may be both seriously affected by the expansion.

“The ECB and LCB viewpoint was that they were not totally opposed to the plans but were naturally concerned as to how other leagues would be affected.”

Since then the LCB has announced that a meeting for the Lancashire League will be held on December 10 at Haslingden Cricket Club, from 7pm.

All clubs, including Todmorden, must be represented by club captains, one or two players and at least one club committee person.

Attendees will be asked for their thoughts on forming a ‘pyramid system’ in the county, and opinions on forming a working party.

Tod’ captain Andrew Sutcliffe said: “All we know is that it [the expansion plan] has been postponed by the LCB and ECB until futher consultation.

“It is an interesting stance from the LCB as it was originally they who created the movement of merging and expanding leagues when they formed the greater Manchester Cricket League.”

A further concern up for discussion other than the move being ‘right for cricket in Lancashire’ is whether, in fact, it is what the players in these leagues actually want.

Once consultations have been completed, the league (and its member clubs) hope to be in a better position to make a judgement and/or to propose suggestions about the way ahead for all concerned in the matter.