CALLED-FOR changes to the Sykes Cup competition have finally been ratified by Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League clubs.
For several years, proposals have been submitted each year to change the rules of the Cup to those of the League, but have repeatedly failed to win the necessary two-thirds majority.
However, this year the clubs voted in favour of changing the rules by a vote of 21 to 9 and will therefore be incorporated into the rulebook ahead of the 2013 season.
Among the proposals was a move to restrict even further the number of overs any one bowler can send down, from 15 to 10, while any leg-side deliveries will be classed as wides, unless they come into contact with the bat or any part of the batsman’s person.
The other major change in the Cup rules will see the implementation of a fielding circle, marked out by white discs, with the fielding side having to maintain a number of players within that circle for the duration of the innings, with no more than five players on the leg side at any one time.
The reasons behind the changes are blamed on too many sides employing all their fielders on the boundary edge, the blatant use of negative leg-side bowling, while in some instances the bulk of the bowling has been undertaken by just three bowlers.
In putting forward this year’s suggested change to the rules, the proposers felt it would not only spice up the competition, but that it was also time the League embraced some of the rules of 50-overs cricket which is already played by County and International teams as well as many senior Leagues throughout the country.
On their part, the Executive admitted there had been a strong groundswell of opinion in favour of the changes when the pre-season meeting had been held earlier in the year with the clubs’ captains.
In future, all clubs will need to employ a minimum of five bowlers in the Sykes Cup which should bring some variation, but it is the fielding circle which could have the biggest impact with only two fielders permitted outside the zone in the first 15 overs of an innings.
And for the remainder of the innings there must be a minimum of four fielders (plus the bowler and wicketkeeper) inside the circle, which should guarantee a more aggressive approach by batsmen in the closing stages of an innings.
A proposed change to the format of the League structure was defeated by one single vote.
With two further clubs having applied to join the League for 2014 – bringing the complement up to 36 – there was a proposal to make all three divisions 12-strong, but on this occasion it was edged out.