Leeds Cricket League Leeds Cricket Clubs, Since the old Leeds & District Cricket League folded, clubs in Leeds have had no other option but to play in leagues that have their traditional heart outside of the city. There are currently Leeds clubs playing in the Airedale & Wharfedale, Bradford, Dales Council, Nidderdale, Pontefract, Wetherby and York leagues. This has resulted in players having to travel further which, along with the length of games, takes too much time out of their day, sometimes over 8 hours. This is time that many just do not have any more due to an increase in family, work and other commitments. This is unsustainable and unless changes are made, the future is bleak. Another major issue that clubs have is engaging the next generation of cricketers. Many clubs have seen the number of under 17’s and under 15’s drop dramatically over recent seasons and some junior leagues have even dropped their under 17 competition. Having played shorter win/lose formats throughout junior cricket, the 45/50 over win/lose/draw formats do not appeal to many and as a result, they drift away from the game they once loved, some never to return. This needs to be addressed by senior cricket leagues otherwise all the hard work that our junior coaches are doing will be wasted as we lose them to other less time-consuming sports. So, what is the answer? In short, there isn’t one, but what can be done is to listen to what the clubs and even more importantly the players want and make this available to them, as without players we do not have clubs. Last year, the ECB produced the League Blueprint for open age weekend cricket and the findings are as good a guide as any to find answers to the current issues within senior league cricket. Some leagues have made minor changes based on these findings but nowhere near what is required to reverse the trend. This is clear to see as there are an ever-increasing number of forfeited games due to a shortage of players, even in some of the top leagues. There are also more and more teams and unfortunately entire clubs folding every year. Anyway, let’s get to the point of this letter. It is now time that clubs and players in Leeds had the option to play cricket in Leeds and not the surrounding areas and with a format that works for the players of today and tomorrow, not yesterday, therefore, a new Leeds Cricket League will be available for clubs to enter. This will start in 2020, possibly before (see below). The initial plans are to have: 1. A 40 over Saturday league o Open to all established Leeds clubs who have an acceptable ground, facilities, structure and disciplinary record. o Clubs may enter anything from one to four teams, and applications are welcome for just the reserve teams of the ‘bigger’ clubs in Leeds. o At an achievable over rate and including a short break for tea, the 40 over format will be completed within 5 hours, ensuring games are finished for 6-6.30pm. 2. A 20 over Saturday and/or Sunday league o Open to all established Leeds clubs as well as non-club teams (must become YCB affiliated) who may be groups of friends, work colleagues, etc. o Clubs may find this league ideal for their reserve teams and for bridging the gap between 20 over junior cricket and 40 over senior cricket. As well as providing the players with a format that they want to play in, we will also ensure that the clubs are looked after by the league, including: • Administration – In some leagues, the administration that clubs must adhere to is at ridiculous and unnecessary levels. This will be reduced significantly. • Rules – These will be simplified into a straightforward, concise and understandable format. We will still be playing cricket, just without convoluted rules. • Fines – The league will only have points deductions for rule breaches and will not collect fines, ensuring that much needed funds stay within clubs. • Flexibility – We will allow flexibility with start times, length of games, rain rules, registrations, etc all to ensure clubs are able to fulfil their fixtures. Other initial plans worth mentioning, include: • The league will not be part of the YCB Pyramid Structure which will give clubs the freedom to join without having to ‘qualify’ through their existing league. • There will be a limit of one overseas or one paid player per club in the top divisions, again ensuring that much needed funds stay within clubs. • The early rounds of the cup competition will be incorporated into the Saturday schedule resulting in fewer Sunday fixtures. As a new league, it will be so much easier to incorporate the findings of the League Blueprint and ensure we have a league that works for both club and players alike. The beauty of the new league is that it does not have any history, so there is no need to stick to out of date formats, rules and regulations that are only insisted on by league management committees because ‘that is how it has always been’. We can have a fresh start and get it right for the good of our clubs, our players and cricket in general. Our aim is to visit all the clubs who enter the new league to discuss what they want from it and to talk about how we, as a league, can help them grow using methods that have been tried and tested by other clubs. Now there will obviously be an impact on other leagues, but this should be seen as a positive, as they will revert back to more local leagues making it easier for their clubs to travel to games and raise teams. There may also be an impact on clubs as some players who want to play 50 over cricket may leave. These should easily be replaced as there are more players out there who don’t want to play 50 overs than those that do. Likewise, with paid players who will be replaced and at a much lower cost for clubs. So, what next. As the league is not yet YCB affiliated, no club is required to obtain permission from their existing league before discussing the possibility of joining the Leeds Cricket League. If your club is interested, please contact us and we will keep you informed of developments. We are not asking for clubs to commit yet, we just need to know who is interested and who is not to enable us to work with those that are, whilst setting up the new league. All correspondence will be treated in the strictest confidence. Nobody involved in the new league is currently on any other league management committee, so your interest will not get back to your existing league. You will be the first to let them know if you decide to enter the new league. It has recently come to light that there may be a large number of clubs from a local league who are looking for an alternative for 2019, hence the reason why this letter has been circulated now. Although this only allows clubs until the end of this month to make a decision, if there was enough interest, we would be prepared to set up an interim league for 2019 with a view to starting the new league fully in 2020. If you have any questions or thoughts on how the new league should be set up, such as formats, rules, etc, please feel free to contact us. Nothing is set in stone, so now is the time to help us get this right, from the start. If your club is interested, please let us know as soon as possible for which year, 2019 or 2020. Regards, Secretary Leeds Cricket League This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.