SPORTSDESK COMMENT: Time to look after those who want to play sport

Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory
Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory

There has been a lot of chat in recent weeks about sports teams folding and what the various leagues could or should do to rectify the diminishing numbers of people playing grassroots sport.

The answer in short is very little.

What could the Derwent Valley League committee do to stop Oriel and Sewerby 4ths from quitting short of chaining them to their respective pavilions?

I know first hand the amount of time and effort Bernard Goulding, secretary of the Derwent Valley League, puts in to his role.

He’s always happy to entertain change and is keen to ensure the DVL rolls with the times.

I attended a joint meeting of the Beckett League with Goulding and the DVL committee last year to pass on Scarborough News readers’ ideas for changing local cricket for the better.

Goulding was as keen as I was to ensure that the local cricket leagues adapted to the changes in the social climate to ensure we don’t lose more teams from our leagues.

A lot is made when a team quits a league or folds altogether.

The main point for me with all these debates is that we ensure that if somebody wants to play local sport, then the provision is always there for them to do so.

Yes, it is incredibly sad to see teams like Hunmanby and Oriel folding.

I have some good and not-so-good memories of playing at both those grounds.

But ask yourself, why are these teams quitting? It is purely and simply because less people want to play cricket on a Saturday.

I’d rather see six divisions full of teams filled with players who want to play the game than seven with people who would rather be somewhere else.

Clubs folding is never a good thing, far from it, but there is very little the committees and leagues can do at the moment.

I’ve spoken to committee members associated with the Saturday and Sunday football leagues, the Beckett and DVL cricket leagues, Scarborough Pirates and Scarborough RUFC about the matter over the past few weeks.

All of them agree that people are just not as interested before.

Maybe it’s time to look after those who want to play rather than worrying about those who clearly don’t.

Yes, there may be small tweaks that could be made here and there by the leagues to keep numbers up, but on the whole they do a sterling job.