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Are players leaving cricket?

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It seems to be a widely held notion that players have started to leave league cricket.

Many deny this and some leagues aggressively defend the fact. However, nationally, there seems to be a trend away from the senior game. Too much cricket, late starts, late finishes, double headers, new family, bad weather, strange formats, lowering in standards, can't compete, seem to be some of the widely held views that are making players vote with their feet.

There has always been an issue with newlyweds or those that go off to University being retained, but it seems players of all ages are simply being put off. Our Leagues need to respond.

There will always be a place for players to attain the highest level of competitive cricket they can. Leagues are good at providing an environment where thay can test themselves and find an eventual winner after a long hard season. Sometimes its the best team that wins, sometimes its the team with the best pro or even the team with the best ground. However, there is little place it seems for those who simply want to turn up and play. This used to be the reserve of the 40 somethings, but it appears it is now across the Board. Even 3rd and 4th team cricket is restricted by rules. Second teams are playing 50 overs widespread. I saw a player walk off last week because the game was taking too long!!!

T20, contrary to logical opinion, has been around since I was a lad. It just has a profile these days. It is played widely and by all ages. However, not all leagues and clubs compete in it. Last Man Stands is a product aimed at non club cricketers who want a less formal game and yet the take up is limited. Colleges, schools, universities, play limited forms of cricket, normally traditional timed games which put people off.

Here's the crux. We need to produce a walk up and play style of match for all ages. Maybe not even a match but a space for people to hit the ball!!! Might sound a recipe for disaster for the traditionalists but people dont want to play 14 hours of cricket every weekend plus 2 hours of warm up and the same old team talks against the same old teams. Those that do fine...but the stats tell us there are many who don't!!!!!

I have long held the belief that if you play cricket on a Saturday then that is what you do. Why do I start playing well into the afternoon. I am ready to play at 11am for example. I can hear you all saying well thats alright for you because you dont work on a Saturday or are used to playing at that time. Well, if you work, dont play on a Saturday! That is my entire point, take an alternative form of the game! There are 1000s of players every week who kick their heels all morning just because we have always done that. I could be in the bar for 6 pm, or at home. I could see the kids after the game, not the next day and heaven forbid, the wife might stay and have a beer if it was earlier. I could even have a beer, see the wife and go home all before 9 o'clock...not finish at 9 o'clock. Not exactly draconian...common sense I think.

There are so many counter attractions to cricket these days that if we dont respond our whole infrastructure will slowly dissolve.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (5 posted)

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Ian gilbertson 02/05/2013 19:31:58
I agree that cricket is taking too much time up at weekends. I have played in the CLL and Lancashire County League for 25 years.

We currently play 28 games in the CLL - this has been reduced down from 30. With additional wood cup, lancashire cup and T20s. We could possibly play 42 games within 23 weekends. CRAZY.

Firstly second team games could be reduced by 7 games. This would then enable 24 or so players to go and experience first team cricket. They would then take their families meaning approx 40-50 new fans. This would then enable older guys with families and younger lads to play ONE GAME per weekend. THAT IS ENOUGH for anyone from 15-45.

I also agree that games should start between 12-1pm.
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tony boardman 07/05/2013 14:43:32
I have thought for some time now that the future of cricket at club level has to be a shorter form of the game. In the modern day world we live in where free time is a precious commodity and young people are used to instant access to all things via the internet it is not surprising to me that the appeal of committing huge chunks of the weekend to play cricket is declining. Perhaps the answer lies in trying to find a format that reduces the time commitment without totally making the game into a crash, bang, wallop twenty 20 affair. I have to say that my personal feeling is that the game has to adapt to prosper and if players only want to commit to playing the shorter format then perhaps twenty 20 leagues is the future?

Tony Boardman
ECB Level 3 Coach & former LCB Community Coach for Bolton.
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E 07/05/2013 10:10:06
Kids are walking away at an early age due to not getting chance to bat during games. How are they supposed to push for a batting opportunity if they never get the opportunity during matches.
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Alex 07/05/2013 16:18:11
Problem : Dropping of Standards

Solution : An Actual Lancashire ECB Premier League, with Pyramid System structure.

Merseyside have one, Lancashire needs one.
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Ian McGeary 08/05/2013 18:44:12
Although I voted against it at the time on behalf of my Club, I thought the Norden proposal of CLL sides just playing each other twice a season was the better idea. That gave more time for Under 18s games to be played on a Saturday in a 40 over per side format,ensuring everybody gets a bat and bowl most weeks. The game would not lose as many 15 to 21 year olds then.
T20 games could all be played on a Saturday and other Fundraisers could also be done on spare dates eg Concerts, Pub/Works 6 a sides etc etc.
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