Sportsdesk Comment: Local cricket facing a winter of discontent

Sportsdesk Comment with Andy Bloomfield
Sportsdesk Comment with Andy Bloomfield

I think the local cricket scene is heading for another winter of discontent unless clubs make more of an effort to ensure they have enough players.

While playing in division C of the Derwent Valley League for Ravenscar 2nds this year I have noticed that a lot of teams are still really struggling to get a full team out, and on one particular weekend our opponents conceded the game a few hours before the match due to not having enough players.

Having captained Ebberston 2nds many years ago I have a lot of sympathy for the skippers and selection committees out there who are having to scrabble around for players to keep teams going.

But in a strong end of season statement, league secretary Bernard Goulding called for more loyalty and commitment in local cricket.

I feel very sorry for Bernard as he had several teams resign from the league in the opening weeks of last season, with three sides pulling out of division B it made their fixture schedule sparse to say the least.

The unfortunate knock-on effect of a division with lots of spare weekends means that the remaining teams then lose players as they are not in the weekly routine and find other pursuits for a Saturday afternoon.

Bernard is keen for clubs to decide earlier on whether they can carry on or not and would prefer one division of teams who want to play rather then two or three comprised of teams who cannot be bothered.

A lot of talk on social media among local players has suggested knocking the overs down to attract more younger players to the sport, but that seems bizarre as this would mean less chance of a bat and bowl for the next generation.

I would imagine most players who now turn out for teams in the top two division of the Beckett League spent at least a season, and possibly more, playing in the DVL, and while it may seem that the erosion of interest in the lower leagues may not affect them at the moment it could have ramifications for decades for the local cricket scene.

There is a deadline of November 30 for teams to join or apply for the DVL, and hopefully the clubs will be honest and admit defeat if they are really struggling to raise a team.

It seems only a matter of time before the DVL is absorbed by the Beckett League, or it may survive as a single division.

Thankfully local junior cricket is looking healthy with an under-11s, under-13s and under-15s league, but at this rate they may have few DVL teams to step into after they pass the age of 15.