KEEPING teams playing cricket is a struggle – just ask the Bradford Mutual Sunday School League.

From a recent high-water mark of 40 teams in four divisions in 2016, they are due to start the new season with just 26 teams in three divisions.

Yorkshire LPS have taken their two teams into the Dales Council League, while Central YMCA have gone to the Craven League in a sense, joining Hepworth & Idle’s third team.

Meanwhile, Hallfield will not be fielding a second team.

Softening the blow, however, is the return of Allerton B, who did not field a side last season, and a new team – Kashmir Bradford.

Chairman Nick Spachis, who came in for some criticism from Bowling Baptists’ representative Shazaid Yousaf about the way the league was run, told the league’s annual meeting, which was held on Zoom: “A massive thank you for being here and for playing cricket last season, where there were some very good performances.

“Also a massive thanks to the league’s executive committee for their efforts during the shortened season that we had last year, bearing in mind that some leagues did not play, and also thanks to the league’s main sponsor Dr Rizwan Hameed.”

League fixtures and results secretary Zaheer Ahmed admitted: “Cricket is in decline, and has been for 15 to 20 years, and other leagues have folded, such as the Bradford Central League and Huddersfield Central League.”

League secretary Hafeez Ur Rehman, who thanked the groundsmen for their efforts, explained that this meeting was merely part one of a two-part annual meeting, with the next one later in the spring being where the proposed rule changes will be discussed.

Ur Rehman also thanked the ECB for the wealth of information that they provided to the league in terms of grants to help clubs through some very difficult months due to Covid-19.