Cricket: Doncaster Town have their say on Premier League revamp

Doncaster's player coach Simon Widdup
Doncaster's player coach Simon Widdup

Doncaster Town want to see a newly proposed two-tier ECB Yorkshire Premier League decided on merit - and not geography.

Premier League officials, following consultations with Yorkshire CCC, want to breathe new life into their competition.

The re-structure, which could pave the way for a new pyramid league system across the whole county, is also part of a drive to improve the quality of club cricket in Yorkshire and maintain a conveyor belt of young players with the ability to go on and represent the White Rose county.

A proposal to divide the current 14-team Yorkshire League into a northern and southern conference was recently publicly backed by the South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League.

A geographical split is also thought to be the preferred option of several ‘northern’ based clubs.

However, at a meeting on Friday, Doncaster Town officials tentatively backed an alternative proposal to invite four more clubs to join the current league, and then split the division into two new leagues dependent on where teams finish in the table.

Their proposal would see the top nine sides in an expanded 18-team league go into the new Division One, while the bottom nine would form Division Two. Town favour a two up, two down approach to promotion and relegation.

Rather than playing 26 league games, clubs would play 16 more intense fixtures.

According to Doncaster’s player coach Simon Widdup the reduced schedule would also allow time for end of season play-offs, a new T20 competition and also an Under 21 T20 Cup.

“It’ll mean less league games, however those games will be played at higher intensity,” said the former Yorkshire opening batsman.

“It leaves us time for our cup competitions. And it leaves me time as a coach to say to bowlers, ‘rest up, you’re not playing Saturday, Sunday and Monday’.

“The league have identified that certain age groups are dropping out of the sport and this also allows for people to spend more time with their families.”

Premier League clubs have been encouraged to shape the re-structure and have until mid-February to provide feedback on their preferred option.

Officials hope to make a final decision at a meeting in March, with the aim of launching the new structure in 2015.