Local cricket seems to be in a crisis at the moment, with several teams pulling out of leagues since the start of the season, the most recent being Brompton’s resignation on Monday night from the AndyHire Evening League.
When you also include Snainton quitting the Readers Scarborough Beckett Cricket League division A last week, and the earlier-season departures of Flamborough from the premier division and Thornton Dale 3rds quitting division C of the Derwent Valley League, all three senior leagues in this area have been affected by the current malaise.
Is this a brief blip in the interest in cricket or is it affected by other factors such as finance?
Many of these teams have to travel long distances to compete, and often with the lesser teams many of the players are under 17 so the few senior players often take the brunt of the driving costs.
A lot of clubs were also hit hard by the dreadful weather in 2012, with many teams having to call off nearly half their games they lost out on a lot of revenue from teas, matchday subs, etc and this could well have affected the interest levels of some cricketers, especially the younger ones who may have other interests at a weekend.
As I only play occasionally nowadays due to family commitments, I do not get to play every week so I am not aware of the state of every team in the C division of the Derwent Valley League, but my colleague, Scalby batsman Daniel Gregory, had commented earlier this season that several teams looked to be struggling, especially Snainton, who seemed to have a lot of young players and only a few senior players.
When the likes of Flamborough and Snainton lose their first teams, the second teams have become stronger as a sole team in the Derwent Valley League, which gives them more chance of continuing as a club, but it may upset their rivals to be facing bolstered sides at a lower level.
How can the leagues combat the apparent decline in interest? Some have suggested that the games could start earlier on a Saturday, for example at 1pm, and the Beckett League games be reduced to 40 overs from 45.
From personal experiences I never really had a great deal of interest in Evening League cricket, it seemed very rare that you had a chance to impress unless you were in the top four of the batting order or if you were one of the four bowlers.
In some teams, the all-rounders often seemed to be the ones getting the practice while the rest of us merely looked on and had to be grateful for the odd crumb of action.
Again, Daniel often seems disillusioned by night cricket and he is not on his own as many other local players seem to constantly moan about the physical and mental strains of having so much cricket during the week, so maybe this is where part of the problem lies?
Maybe the Evening League could become a t20 competition played on a Sunday?