Walsden in favour of change as talks over a Greater Manchester league continue

Walsden CC's Kenny Gale
Walsden CC's Kenny Gale

Walsden CC are awaiting further developments as Central Lancashire League chiefs discuss becoming part of a Greater Manchester cricket pyramid system.

The CYCL is among 10 leagues considering coming together as part of a bigger, stronger competition as the number of players and clubs declines across the sport.

Representatives of eight leagues - the CYCL, Manchester League, Bolton Association, Bolton League, Saddleworth League, North Manchester League, Lancashire County League and Greater Manchester Amateur League - met at Emirates Old Trafford last Thursday.

The Horwich and Churches & WCA and the Bolton Cosmopolitan League are also involved but were not represented at the meeting.

It was unanimously agreed to form a steering group to look into a structured approach to league cricket across Greater Manchester. This process is said to be fully supported by the LCB.

The CYCL, which is believed to have made a separate new approach to the Lancashire League over a possible merger, has tried to attract new clubs with limited success in recent years.

After spliting the league in two for 2013, with two divisions of eight clubs, the league hoped to attract eight new teams to have two divisions of 12 for 2015. From nine applications, only Elton and Heyside have been accepted.

That means two divisions of nine with the clubs playing each other three times to create a 24-game league programme. That is four fewer games than last season when teams played each other four times each.

Walsden spokesman Kenny Gale said the Scott Street club, champions in 2012 and 2013, were in favour of change.

He said: “Something needs to happen because the format as it is doesn’t really work.

“The standard of cricket is good but the number of players and spectators is dwindling with people saying ‘have I got to go there again?’.

“If there were 12 teams in each division there would not be a problem.”

Gale believes that if enough leagues were willing to come together, a new Greater Manchester League could come into being fairly quickly.

“I think they are talking about 2016 but there is a lot to sort out before then,” he said.