The Management Board of the Spenser Wilson Halifax Cricket League recently received some extremely disappointing news that Cullingworth C.C were struggling to field two teams for the forthcoming season due to a significant reduction in playing numbers at the club. This came as quite a surprise, especially after the great season the first XI had last year in winning the Division 1 title and gaining promotion to the Premier Division. Cullingworth held an EGM last week to discuss their possible immediate options and decided on a course of action that would most likely allow them to continue with a level of competitive cricket whilst offering some development opportunities to their junior players.

Cullingworth made a formal request to the Halifax League Executive to give due consideration to the following requests: · To allow Cullingworth to drop their Second Team for the 2018 season. · To demote their First Team to the Second Division. Steve Welch, the acting Chairman and Secretary commented that “This decision has not been taken lightly; however, the Club Officers with support of the current players and members, feel that this is the best course of action to buy some time to recruit local cricketers and develop our junior players into senior cricketers.” He also added “I would also like to thank the Executive for their understanding in this matter, and hope that Cullingworth can again build from a core of committed members who have local cricket at the heart of their decisions.” The Management Board considered their requests despite all the fixtures already being arranged and published on the League website. The Cullingworth proposals to demote Cullingworth First Team to Division 2, in accordance with league rules as a one team club, and to allow them to drop their Second Team in 2018, was put to the full executive and was approved unanimously.

Queensbury CC whose First Team was relegated last season was offered the chance to remain but declined the opportunity to retain a place in the Premier Division. Bridgeholme CC who finished 3rd in division one last season have accepted the offer to be promoted to the Premier Division and will take the place of Cullingworth. Clayton C.C First Team who finished 3rd in division 2 have been offered the opportunity to play in Division One next season and have accepted. There was a strong possibility that Cullingworth C.C could have folded completely and so the decision was made to support the club and let cricket continue with just one team at the ground next year and give club officials the opportunity to regroup.

Chairman Anthony Briggs commented; “The League Management Board thought it was essential that the integrity of the Premier League competition was maintained but at the same time we wanted to ensure that another cricket club was not lost to the area.” This means that all of the league fixtures now have to be rewritten and the competition will have a 12-8-10 structure for first XI’s competition and a 12-8-8 for the second XI’s.

This has caused a real headache for the league executive and will mean that the issue of the league yearbook will be delayed slightly as a result. The revised fixture list will be issued to all clubs as soon as possible and the Chairman also commented; “The whole league owes a huge thank you to former League Fixture Secretary Peter Taylor who has stepped out of retirement and is currently reworking the fixture list for the forthcoming season at extremely short notice”.