Cricket: Former Alliance League chairman backs South Yorkshire League merger

Adwick - and their family of Bishops (pictured) - will field a second Xl this year.
Adwick - and their family of Bishops (pictured) - will field a second Xl this year.

This time last year chairman Maurice Birkett admits he was stumped as to how to revive the fortunes of the now disbanded South Yorkshire Alliance Cricket League.

An amalgamation of the struggling Doncaster and Sheffield leagues in 2010, the Alliance League had been seen as the best way forward.

However, after initial success in stemming the loss of clubs, teams continued to fold.

And the former Doncaster League chairman says he fully supported the decision taken late last year to join forces with the more established South Yorkshire Senior League.

“We started off with 56 teams and had we continued as we were we’d have started the 2015 season with just 31,” said Maurice.

“The South Yorkshire League approached us and it was good of them to do so.

“They didn’t want to see a further decline of junior cricket, if you like, in South Yorkshire.

“I suppose we may have lost more clubs in the future had we continued as we were, whereas clubs have now we’ve got a new lease of life.

“That’s underlined by the fact that two clubs, including Adwick-le-Street, will be running a second team next season.

“The SYSL have promised to give all the help they can give and I can’t praise them enough. The amalgamation or merger - or whatever you want to call it - has gone through quite smoothly.

“Every club in the Alliance has bought into it and they are all looking forward to the challenges which lie ahead.

“For example, clubs know that to get above Division Four they will have to meet certain criteria.”

Maurice and Melvyn Bond will both serve on the SYSL management committee and they hope to find out their exact roles at a meeting this month.

But other key figures in both the Doncaster League and the Alliance League, including (president) David Welch and (results secretary) Ian Hobson, have stepped down.

Maurice will also continue to serve as an umpire in 2015.