Clubs to vote on Wetherby League promotion conundrum

22nd June 2013.  Wetherby League.  Scarcroft v Bilton-in-Ainsty.'Scarcroft's Damian Aston celebrates a wicket with wicket keeper Cameron Williams.
22nd June 2013. Wetherby League. Scarcroft v Bilton-in-Ainsty.'Scarcroft's Damian Aston celebrates a wicket with wicket keeper Cameron Williams.
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Cricketers in the Wetherby League could find themselves going from chasing promotion to battling relegation after radical league restructuring plans for next season were announced.

League clubs have been asked to vote for one of two options designed to change the league into seven divisions of 10 teams, less than a year after the last reshuffle.

One of the options chops all promotion at the end of the season, with option B allowing just the champions to move up a division.

The league proposals will see the end of Sunday cup fixtures, with gaps left for these in the Saturday schedule instead.

In both proposals, no team from Division Six can be promoted with at least four sides, Crompark, Crompark A, Meanwood A and Gledhow A, joining the league.

Clubs have until Friday to make their representations before the decision will be announced.

Paul Berry, Wetherby League secretary said: “With clubs dropping out we need to realign the leagues to get the standards right.

“The feedback we are getting from clubs is that they are losing players because they are playing mismatches.

Otley-based Dales Council club Crompark were voted into the league at last year’s Annual General Meeting and Gledhow and Meanwood first teams joined in Division Five this summer.

The league’s preferred option, Option B, means clubs finishing lower than sixth in Division Three or lower than fourth in Division Four and Five will be dropped down a league.

Option A removes all promotion from the 2013 season with teams finishing seventh or lower in Division Three, fifth or lower in Division Four or lower than fourth in Division Five moving down.

Berry rejected the idea this meant teams are now fighting relegation rather than pushing for promotion.

“The clubs need to see it’s not relegation, it’s realignment of the league,” he said.

“We don’t want teams to go down from two teams to one, or from one to nothing.

“The feedback has been positive. Having promotion means teams have something to play for.

“When you look at the division three, if one team is promoted seven are going down.

“That will increase competition and have more competitive cricket.”

Only seven out of 27 Hare Cup fixtures have been completed this year, with equally worrying numbers in the first team Fred Fleetwood Cup.

The league will introduce a plate competition for teams knocked out in the first round to protect loss of income for clubs.

Berry added: “If clubs had participated in it fully, then 10 teams in a division wouldn’t have been an option.

“It is going to make the cups the trophy everyone wants to win.“