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2017 Cricket Season Preview: It's all change as Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League get ready for action

New clubs give competition a fresh look

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The Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League starts on Saturday (15th) and there are some significant changes afoot.

Not only are five former Central League clubs going to play as Associate Drakes members in the second XI sections in Cartworth Moor, Holmbridge, Edgerton & Dalton, Flockton and Nortonthorpe.

But second XI cricket this season will be 45 overs per innings, not 50, following rule changes approved by clubs at the end of last year.

Moves to make second XI cricket 45 overs from this season were strongly approved, 33 votes to five among the 38 clubs.

All 45-over games in September will start at 1pm, rather than 12.30.

Only two other rule changes were voted through – one to allow midweek Cup pitch preparation when the umpires arrive, and the other stating scorecard disputes will only be allowed up to seven days after publication on the league website.

Proposals to reduce the size of the Drakes Premiership this summer were thrown out by clubs.

Huddersfield cricket’s top flight will remain 14-strong after moves to trim it to 12 were dismissed 23 votes to 15 at the league’s annual meeting.

On the size of the Premiership (and the second XI top flight), two clubs proposed a reduction to 12 clubs for the 2018 season.

It would have meant three clubs being relegated this season and only one promoted from the Jedi Sports Championship, with two-up-two-down resuming in 2018. The proposing clubs felt a 12-club top division would provide more intensive competition, with matches played on Saturdays only.

This, they said, would have given clubs chance to enter external competitions on Sundays should they wish.

Against the proposal were those wishing to maintain a 26-fixture league programme, plus those pointing to the fact that in a poor summer, many of the fixtures can be rained off in any case. Also, many of those against believed valuable club revenue would be lost with fewer fixtures.

A proposal to play league matches in April and September – the beginning and end of the season – only on Sundays was rejected 32 votes to six.

Another suggestion to start the season earlier was overturned 27-11, while a club proposal to make second XI cricket 40 overs also went down, 30-8.

Few wanted leg-side wides in second XI cricket, the vote being 35-3 against, while a free hit after a leg-side wide was unanimously thrown out.

There was plenty of support for a suggestion that clubs failing to fulfil three second XI fixtures should have to apply or re-election to the league, but 24-14 in favour was not enough to get it adopted (26 votes being needed to secure any rule change amendment).

Proposed changes to the rain rule were dismissed 31-7, as were plans to allow practice during the tea interval and a proposal to regionalise second XI cricket.

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