Sportsdesk Comment with Martin Dowey: Clubs dropping players down ranks damages spirit of cricket

Sports desk comment
Sports desk comment

In recent weeks the word cheating has been mentioned in the higher echelons of a couple of sports.

I’m sure everyone has their opinions about the rights and wrongs of things and that is why governing bodies and rules are put in place.

Having glanced over the local cricket results this season it makes you wonder if a few dark deeds are dripping down to that level.

I personally haven’t played the game since the youthful age of 20, but I have taken in plenty of cup finals, regular matches and have dealt with the most fanatical of skipper.

It is clear to me that the gentleman’s game of cricket is a sport that can be influenced hugely by just one player.

If somebody steps up and takes five, six or seven wickets and then blasts his way to a ton then they have all-but won the fixture.

That may not be the case in the Beckett League’s premier division, but in the development standings of the Derwent Valley League then it is a different story.

The DVL’s lower rungs are mainly set up for the veteran or players from younger age-groups, who are moving through from the junior leagues.

The last thing these players want when they turn up for a game is to come up against somebody who has dropped down several divisions.

My colleague Andy Bloomfield often sits and shakes with rage when reeling off the names of these people who involve themselves in this scenario.

Obviously at his level there is still some competitive edge, though most of it is down to the fun of playing and the banter.

So the last thing you want when you turn up for a knock is for one of the town’s better players to be steaming in at you.

I wonder what these players get out of it. Surely the challenge of playing higher up is better than heading off to the pub on a Saturday night and saying that you took the wickets of seven 12-year-olds for just two runs.

The excuse of choice may be that the first team didn’t have a game, but that doesn’t cut it for me.

If you go on any league’s website then there is a section on the spirit of cricket.

Surely this practice isn’t in the spirit of things.

To drop a player down from team to team in the York Senior League is a move that has to be run past the management committee prior to the fixture.

Yet teams across our area teams seem to be getting away with it week in week out.

Players progress, so forcing your way through a club’s respective teams is obviously great for any individual.

I suppose the blow of dropping back through the levels must be countered by the carrot of a big score or a hefty wicket haul - though it might not always be in the spirit of cricket.