‘All or nothing’ rule sparks junior league exodus

Buttershaw St Paul’s have withdrawn from the Bramleys Halifax Junior League as a result of rule changes brought in at the league’s annual meeting at Blackley Cricket Club.

Huddersfield League duo Elland and Rastrick have also left in what has become a test of commitment for clubs who play their senior cricket in other leagues.

Clubs playing in out-of-town leagues will have to enter their entire junior section in the Halifax Junior League, rather than just one or two of their teams.

Also, players registered in the league have to be available to play representative cricket for Halifax, rather than another area.

However, junior league official Neil Myers said Illingworth (Aire-Wharfe), Barkisland (Huddersfield) and Northowram Fields (Central Yorkshire) had accepted the changes and would continue to play in the league, while negotiations with Great Horton Church (Bradford Mutual Sunday School) and Upper Hopton (Huddersfield Central) were ongoing.

The changes, which Myers said had been passed by a substantial majority, are aimed at protecting the interests of a league which has become a victim of its own success.

Officials are delighted that junior cricket in the area is flourishing but dismayed at the extra workload and expense that it has brought with it.

The death last year of Keith Goulden, who did a great deal of the administrative work, was a major blow and the increasing cost of fielding representative teams and trophies has led to the league reporting losses for the last two years.

There has been a feeling that some out-of-town clubs have used the Halifax Junior League for their own ends and contributed little to its running.

Chairman Howard Cooper and Myers have recently visited affected clubs who wished to discuss their concerns about the proposals which have now been passed.

Myers said that some minor concessions were being made in the short term as clubs adapted to the new regulations.

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