It’s all change in local cricket after the South Yorkshire Cricket League announced a dramatic restructure from the 2016 season.
The League announced yesterday that the ECB Yorkshire Premier League will be divided into north and south sections.
“The decision has been made in order to give opportunities to many more aspiring cricketers to compete in the top flight,” a League spokesman said, “without facing prohibitive travelling distances, which recent surveys have suggested is a key contributor to players leaving the game.”
In essence, the Yorkshire League will split into four Premier Leagues across the county, all served by feeder leagues accessible to all club cricketers.
A South league will include Appleby Frodingham, Barnsley, Cleethorpes, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield Collegiate and Sheffield United, plus the top three clubs from the South Yorkshire Senior League and two clubs from the Central Yorkshire League.
The biggest change to the current Yorkshire League structure is the introduction of promotion and relegation. Ground and facilities criteria will still exist, and clubs will be required to have strong junior sections and have achieved Clubmark status before gaining entry.
Terry Bentham, chairman of the South Yorkshire League, told The Telegraph: “Discussions with the Yorkshire League on this matter have been very amicable, and we would like to offer our thanks to them for making this a smooth process. The new league will be a very, very strong one.”
South Yorkshire League clubs have fared well against Yorkshire League sides in the past, and sides such as Wickersley, Treeton, Whitley Hall and Elsecar would certainly not look out of place.
“The current South Yorkshire Senior League will become the feeder league for the new YLS,” the League spokesman added, “and it will be open to other clubs in the area, seeking to further their ambitions to play ECB Premier League cricket, to apply to join the SYSCL and gain promotion.
“The ECB hopes that this new re-organisation is just the sort of grass-roots initiative that will encourage the best players to engage, the best youngsters to emerge and eventually lead to a revival in the fortunes of English cricket.”