Players drive league changes

Life in the Warwickshire Cricket League (WCL) has had a shot in the arm, with striking format changes bringing more competitive games and a 10 per cent increase in players, according to data.

Consultation involving captains and players at divisional meetings offered clubs the chance to drive the agenda, something WCL chair Graham Seal feels has been a success.

“Because the changes were explained well in advance, the feedback has been positive,” he says.

“The new structures and changes were driven by the clubs and players, making them part of the decision-making process, which has resulted in a high satisfaction rating.”

One of the biggest changes has been the adoption of a linear structure for the league’s Premier and 12 divisional league set-up, with first, second and third teams now mixed into a single-ladder league, regionalised at lower levels. The result is a far more competitive landscape.

“With clubs having more than one team, it was causing blockages in the league,” Seal explains. “This was making the league games inconsistent.”

Flexible start times and the introduction of fewer overs have also helped. “The lower divisions play shorter games than the top two,” Seal adds, “which provides the players with a format suitable to their requirements.”

Accommodation of other teams’ needs is another good news story. Among a host of teams happy to rearrange games – particularly during Ramadan – were Knowle and Dorridge. Due to send their fourth team to meet Bridge Trust, the need for a switch meant the game was moved instead to their own first team’s ground, offering 22 players the chance to play at a venue used for county 2nd XI games.

Seal is certainly doing his bit as chair, too, using his own expertise to provide a detailed account of league data, thereby keeping a keen eye on a ball that seems to be moving off the pitch as well as on.