New regions a winner for Devon

Change is afoot in the Devon Cricket League with clubs embracing a new-look approach to their cricket a year ahead of a proposed 2016 revamp. One of the thornier issues in getting the game on has been the lengthy distances clubs – particularly lower-division ones on the county’s fringes – have had to travel for their fixtures. The long-standing problem – regularly discussed but up to now unresolved – has been addressed with the restructuring of the league along geographical lines.

“Finding the best-fit model for clubs from the Premier to F divisions has proved to be problematic,” says league secretary Ed Leverton. “The shape of Devon and the location of cricket clubs provide a challenge when considering regionalisation.

“We decided that, although not perfect, we would adopt a presumption used previously to determine East and West clubs – an imaginary straight line drawn from the Torridge estuary to the Exe estuary.”

Under the new regionalised structure, the winners of the East and West Leagues will replace two of three teams relegated from the county-wide division, with the third demoted side freeing a spot for the winners of an East-West play-off match on the last Saturday of the season.

“Finding a geographic ‘meridian’ along which the county could be divided was important,” adds Leverton. “And providing cricket that was attractive to the players was paramount.”

The clubs bought into the idea when balloted at their 2014 AGM, to the extent that the proposed changes were introduced ahead of schedule unopposed.

“Get the Game On is now a standing agenda point on the executive and general management committee meetings,” adds Leverton. “Clubs, players, captains and umpires are being contacted on numerous occasions to make sure it stays current.”

With satisfaction levels high the changes look set to stay, with Leverton keeping a watching brief. “We will be constantly checking with clubs,” he says.