FOUR new clubs are seeking election to the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League for 2014.
They are Upperthong, Thurstonland, Birkby Rose Hill and Cartworth Moor – and the League Executive are recommending to existing clubs that all four are accepted.
Almondbury Wesleyans, Denby, Moorlands and Denby Dale are joining the Drakes ranks this coming summer – the season starts on Saturday, April 20 – bringing the total to 34 clubs.
All of those have been admitted in the Cedar Court Conference, taking that section up to 12 clubs. The Premiership remains at 14 and the Frank Platt Championship features just eight clubs.
It was expected the League would probably look for two more newcomers for the following season, to increase the membership to a nicely-rounded 36 and a split of three divisions of 12.
But with four applications on the table for 2014, the League’s Executive want all four for a potential split of 14 in the top flight and two 12s.
The quartet of potential newcomers all hail from the arrowselfdrive Huddersfield Central League.
Three of them, Thurstonland, Birkby Rose Hill and Cartworth Moor are all in the Premier Section, while Upperthong are a mid-table Section A side.
Thurstonland’s ground has been one of the ‘jewels in the crown’ of the Central League for many years, having hosted any number of Allsop Cup finals, and without doubt they are one club which the Drakes League have been willing to embrace for some time.
Upperthong are a relatively new club, but have plenty of ambition, while Cartworth Moor have recently built new changing rooms, having finally moved out of the railway carriage which served them for so many years.
Birkby Rose Hill, too, have upgraded their changing facilities and although small in relation to most Drakes League grounds, the Birkby Hall Road facility is set in a pleasant area, adjoining the Nuffield Hospital.
Last season Birkby finished seventh, Cartworth ninth and Thurstonland 10th in the Premier Section, while Upperthong were eighth in Section A.
Drakes clubs will have to consider what the new quartet can bring to the mix and if 38 clubs is the right number for the league.
Some supporters believe there are already too many clubs in the league clamouring for too few players, with the result that the talent available is becoming diluted and the general overall standard growing weaker.
They feel fewer clubs with a higher concentration of players would be a better option, while others feel clubs need to play plenty of cricket during the season to sustain themselves financially and also that the new clubs would have a solid platform on which to develop – just like former Central clubs Skelmanthorpe, Scholes and, more recently, Hoylandswaine have done.
Although the Executive are recommending acceptance, to gain approval the League must vote two-thirds majority in favour of admitting the quartet for 2014.