· ensure that the best players play against each other,
· encourage improvement of facilities and coaching
· ensure that clubs can fulfil their aspirations without changing leagues.
· ensure a proper system of promotion and relegation between Premier Leagues and other feeder leagues
Any leagues resulting from the restructure will form part of the ECB Premier League system – there are currently 26 such leagues nationwide.
Myself and Chris Frogett have attended the steering group meetings together with representatives from some other Yorkshire Senior Leagues, the Yorkshire Cricket Board and Mark Arthur the Yorkshire CCC Chief Executive. It has always been, and it remains our view, that the adoption of such a pyramid is in the best interests of strong cricket and that the Central Yorkshire League should be part of this. Given the commitment to this structure by YCCC and YCB, together with some other senior leagues, it seems to us that it is far better to be on the ‘inside’, as over a period of time those on the outside are likely to become weaker – with the strongest clubs and players wanting to play at the highest level possible.
Set out below therefore is a short resume of why the pyramid structure has come about:
There is no doubt that a big driving factor in the Pyramid discussions has been the decline and demise of some Yorkshire League clubs, the difficulties they have in terms of travel, that many of the best players don’t play in the County’s Premier League and the uncompetitive nature of many of the matches and the league itself (York have won it 7 years out of 8).
However there are other factors too. Other Leagues have sought Premier League status – the South Yorkshire League and the Bradford League. Also the ECB were creating pressure for such a development. In addition Mark Arthur as Yorkshire’s Chief Executive is trying to get a closer working relationship between all those involved in cricket in the county – YCB, Leagues, Clubs, players – in order to help strengthen cricket and help retain the County’s future as an International cricket venue.
The discussions that have taken place have involved representatives of YCCC, YCB, Yorkshire League, North Yorkshire South Durham League (as an existing Premier League), York Senior League, Bradford League, Central Yorkshire League and the South Yorkshire League and the Aire Wharfe League.
After several months of discussions an outline proposal for four ECB Premier Leagues in Yorkshire has evolved as set out below:
· Existing NYSD ECB Premier to remain
· A new Yorkshire North ECB Premier to include current Yorkshire League Clubs in the north of the county together with leading clubs from the existing York Senior League
· The Bradford League will become an ECB Premier League and will be partnered by the Central Yorkshire Cricket League
· A new Yorkshire South ECB Premier to include current Yorkshire League Clubs in the south and Lincolnshire [Appleby Frodingham, Barnsley, Cleethorpes, Doncaster, Rotherham, Sheffield Collegiate and Sheffield United], together with clubs from the south Yorkshire Cricket League and potentially two clubs from the Central Yorkshire League.
The intention is that at the end of the regular playing season play offs be held between the winners (and possibly runners up) of all four leagues in order to determine the outright Yorkshire Champions. It has also been suggested that the winners accompany the county team on a pre season tour.
Entry to all Premier Leagues will not just reflect playing strength but, as with all ECB Premier Leagues, will also require criteria to be met in relation to facilities (though not ground size), administration, development plans, junior cricket, clubmark and so on.
In terms of management it is envisaged that there will be a county wide board who oversee the operation of all the competitions and then each Premier League will have its own management committee
Early discussions relating to the involvement of the CYCL have revolved around the possibility of being part of either the Bradford League set up or the Yorkshire League South or both.
As such, the issues were discussed at CYCL Management meetings earlier this year and a decision taken by the committee that the CYCL would wish to be part of the Pyramid structure. However it was decided that it would be left to premier division clubs to determine where the league was to be placed in the structure since two options presented themselves.
At a meeting in January CYCL premier division clubs voted that the CYCL would align itself with the ECB Bradford Premier League. This would offer only one place for a CYCL club in the Premier League – and even this is not guaranteed as this may be subject to a play off should the Aire wharfe League also partner this league. The Premier League would be managed by the existing Bradford League management with a representative from other partner leagues on the board.
At the most recent meeting of the Yorkshire Cricket Premier League Management board it was also decided to allow two CYCL premier division clubs from the south of the region to apply to join the ECB Premier League south. The second teams from these clubs will remain with the CYCL and it was agreed that they would be allowed to play as a first team in that League.