Drakes Huddersfield League cricket looks like having a whole new second XI format next season.
The league Executive are proposing six clubs from the old Central League are admitted as Associate Members – Holmbridge, Cartworth Moor, Edgerton & Dalton, Almondburians, Nortonthorpe and Flockton.
Each have committed to fielding two teams, with their senior sides playing in an enlarged Jedi Sports Championship Two and their second XIs in an expanded Cedar Court Conference Two, providing they are voted in by existing clubs at the annual meeting on December 14.
With 14 teams already in Premiership Two, the two lower divisions would have 18 teams each – but they would play 22 fixtures (not everyone twice), and only on Saturdays.
While it’s proposed there is opportunity for promotion and relegation for the new clubs, they would be on probation for two years to see how things worked out.
Each would be invited to enter a team in the Fired Up Paddock Shield, while the first teams would also compete in the Total Indoor Cricket Solutions T20 Shield.
Augustinians, who were also seeking entry, have been told they are not being considered because their facilities are not up to scratch.
The six clubs under discussion have all been told of the standards they must meet with their facilities for 2017.
Drakes chairman Trevor Atkinson told clubs at a special general meeting: “As the senior league in this area, we feel we have a duty of care to these six clubs.
“Most have been around for a long time and we want to give them the best chance.
“It’s our intention to work with them to help them improve and, if they do that, it can only help our league going forward.
“This is a lifeline for these clubs, who are keen to integrate and desperate to play cricket.
“The final decision, of course, rests with our clubs. It is up to them to decide what they want.
“We are trying to do the best for our clubs and for cricket in this area, and for those wondering about Plan B, well there is no Plan B.
“It is not felt these clubs are strong enough for our first XI competitions and therefore we can’t say they are immediately strengthening the league, but that’s why we need to work with them and provide a pathway for improvement.
“That, we suggest, can be through the second XI competitions and that’s what we are proposing to our clubs for their vote.”
It’s been stressed to the former Central League contingent that, whilst also meeting criteria on facilities, they must consistently field two teams (some existing clubs have been struggling to achieve that in recent seasons).
Their voting rights, as Associate Members, will be limited, but a future pathway is open to maybe become full members of the league.