Bradford League receives backing for Premier status

Cricket supporters can look forward to a complete restructure of the game in Yorkshire with four Premier Leagues to be set up in 2016.
Cricket supporters can look forward to a complete restructure of the game in Yorkshire with four Premier Leagues to be set up in 2016.

The Bradford Cricket League looks set to become an ECB Premier League in 2016 after club chairmen voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion last Thursday.

In probably the most radical move in the Bradford League’s 112-year history, they will now apply to become one of four Premier Leagues which will be at the forefront of a proposed new Yorkshire club cricket pyramid

Bradford League chairmen supported the proposal, voting 20-1 in favour, at a special meeting at Cleckheaton CC.

League development officer Alan Birkinshaw made a presentation to the meeting on the process of applying for Premier League status and the plans for league cricket in Yorkshire from 2016.

The Yorkshire Cricket Board’s executive director of strategic partnerships and development, Andrew Watson, along with and Steve Archer (Yorkshire Cricket Board Development Manager) also addressed the meeting.

Mr Birkinshaw said: “Now that we have the backing of the clubs we will initiate the application procedure.

“This is a big step and it is understandable that people want us to provide as much information as possible as we look to move forward.”

If, as expected, the new-look structure is given the green light for 2016 it would bring a complete change to the way Yorkshire club cricket is played, with feeder leagues supplying the main Premier Leagues in a pyramid system.

The Central Yorkshire League have also voted in favour of joining that pyramid and will have the options of aligning with either the West (based on the current Bradford League) or Yorkshire South, based on Yorkshire League sides in the south of the county.

Whichever section the CYL decide to join, clubs could make individual decisions to switch leagues if they wished.

There are proposals for the Drakes Huddersfield League and current South Yorkshire League to join the Yorkshire South region and they must decide by January 6 2015.

A deadline of February 28 has been set for the final structure for 2016 to be agreed.