Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory: Dobson’s the man to evade the pitfalls facing local cricket

Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory: Dobson's the man to evade the pitfalls facing local cricket
Sportsdesk Comment with Daniel Gregory: Dobson's the man to evade the pitfalls facing local cricket

It has been well documented over the past few years that participation numbers in local sport are plummeting.

Fewer sports have suffered more than cricket, with both the Scarborough Beckett League and the Derwent Valley League haemorrhaging member clubs.

There is no easy solution to either stopping or even slowing this trend, but we need to get the right people in the right positions on the various league’s committees.

With that in mind, the appointment of former Sherburn and Forge Valley stalwart Simon Dobson and secretary of the Beckett League is a great boost to the league and all concerned.

I have only known Simon a couple of years, but he is the breath of fresh air the league needs.

Having been to several of the SBL’s AGMs and a one-off committee meeting, there seemed to be a distinct lack of fresh ideas and appetite for the changes needed to keep teams and players.

This is nothing against the personnel involved with the league by any stretch of the imagination.

Cricket is a traditional sport and it is trickier to fathom out a plan to avoid the slump in teams than it would be in football, rugby or other sports.

But something has to be done. That is for sure.

It would be much better for the league to at least try and make certain changes and for them to fail to slow the slump in participation than do nothing and simply allow things to continue as they have been.

Firstly (and I have shared my opinions with Simon), I would merge the Beckett and Derwent Valley Leagues.

Yes, it is easier said than done, the leagues have been running for a long time and there are issues surrounding the standard of grounds in the lower leagues.

But surely there aren’t enough teams to run a stand-alone DVL for much longer? I believe Simon and Bernard Goulding running one committee would be the best outcome going forward.

Secondly, the Cayley Cup needs to move to a Sunday, with coloured kits optional.

That means less evening games, which should please most, and introduces a bit of excitement to games, with the t20 format, with the potential for a big finals day at North Marine Road at the end of the season.

I am 100 per cent certain that Simon will improve things, along with Bernard.

Both are very, very pro-active and have the league’s interests at heart.