Theakston Nidderdale League’s ‘exciting new competitive format’ for 2020

The 2020 Theakston Nidderdale League (TNL) season gets underway tomorrow (Saturday), with clubs set to participate in a revised competition.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 9:52 pm
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 9:58 pm
Richard Ward, his Kirk Deighton CC team-mates, and the rest of the Theakston Nidderdale League will return to action on Saturday when the 2020 season gets underway. Picture: Gerard Binks

There will be no promotion and relegation this term, though clubs across the league’s eight divisions will still have something to play for.

Once the government gave the green light for recreational cricket to resume earlier this month, the TNL’s management committee revealed its intention to complete half a season’s worth of fixtures, meaning that each team would play every other side in their division once.

The TNL proposed that one team would be promoted and one relegated in divisions one, two and three, while one team would go up and two go down divisions four and below.

The league has however reconsidered its plans having received feedback from members informing it that a number of clubs anticipate that they will struggle to field full sides and fulfill all fixtures.

The TNL has subsequently unveiled what it describes as an ‘exciting new competitive format for this season.’

Clubs will now contest the first of their eight scheduled matches, with teams occupying the top four places in each division after games are completed on September 5 qualifying for a play-off.

Divisional finals will then take place on September 19 or the following Saturday (26) if rain interferes.

Clubs who finish outside the top four will be welcome to arrange their own play-offs or friendly fixtures to extend their seasons beyond September 5.

All matches will be played under normal league rules. Points will be scored as normal and all results should be posted on PlayCricket.

‘The safety and welfare of our players and officials is the league’s overriding priority and we have concluded that it would not be appropriate to apply promotion or relegation this season,’ a statement on the TNL website explained.

‘Several clubs have lost more than half of their first-team players due to Covid-19 and will be fielding considerably weakened sides.

‘Trying to keep recreational cricket alive in the face of Covid-19 has been a huge challenge for every league throughout the UK, but we have come up with a format for this season that will give everyone something to play for.’

The Airedale & Wharfedale Senior Cricket League’s 2020 season will commence tomorrow, with an 11-match campaign that will finish on September 26 scheduled to take place.

This will mean that each team will play every other side in their division once.

And, to ensure that meaningful cricket is played, promotion and relegation will remain, but with only one club going up and one going downper division as opposed to the usual two.

Start times for matches in September will be confirmed in due course once an assessment can be made regarding the impact of hygiene breaks (every six overs or 20 minutes )on matches, along with the earlier sunset times at the back end of September.

The league’s third XI competition will start on Sunday, July 19, with fixtures taking place on nine consecutive Sundays with a play-off final between the two conference winners on September 20.

The Aire-Wharfe League currently have vacanices for umpires. Anyone interested in standing in one or more matches can email [email protected]