Manchester & District Cricket Association (MDCA)
Over a year ago, the LCB were asked to help support the Manchester & District Cricket Association (MDCA) in its attempt to retain its clubs and ultimately keep the League together. Unfortunately, despite being advised differently, several clubs moved last season leaving the League with a still viable League of 11 clubs for 2013.
The scramble for us to intervene has continued to the extent it was felt by some clubs that we should dictate as to where clubs play their cricket for 2014 and which Leagues take which clubs. The LCB does not have that brief, nor that power, as we believe Leagues should be autonomous. However, we do accept that we should support clubs to be the best they can be and provide advice where necessary. This we have done over an extensive period, again suggesting the current MDCA clubs remain together for 2014. It would not be prudent for the Governing Body to suggest to certain leagues to take clubs en bloc as this would inevitably lead to some clubs being left behind.
The 6 professional leagues in Greater Manchester have met to discuss this and other issues affecting our game including the retention of players, the influence of professionals and the format of cricket. The LCB were happy to accept suggestions from leagues and discuss their future plans using this as an appropriate forum.
However, quite out of the blue, we were made aware of the following……
“A special meeting of the Bolton & District Cricket Association last night (Friday, 5th July), agreed unanimously to look to extend the league to 24 clubs. In 2014, Swinton Moorside, Winton, Worsley and Lostock have been accepted to increase the league to 18. Though the playing format has yet to be decided, clubs favour a league of two divisions, which is likely to be implemented in 2015.”
Whilst we understand the decision and hope this proves a successful move for the BDCA and the individual clubs involved, we were not informed and this means that the MDCA has 6 clubs (another club, Whalley Range, has been accepted in the Saddleworth League) for 2014 and we fear no viable competition. This of course, has a knock on effect to 2nd and 3rd team cricket.
It is now the LCBs priority to support these 6 clubs (Wythenshawe, Bolton Indians, Deane & Derby, Bolton, South West Manchester and Newton Heath) to ensure they stay in business as clubs and have a decent competition to play in from 2014. I am sure you can see, this has not been helped by recent events and my colleagues and I were trying to second guess the uproar if we had insisted on 4 clubs leaving the MDCA and going to any League to leave 6 clubs in the lurch. That is why we did not intervene and why we suggested clubs sit tight for now whilst further meetings take place.
I would ask the cricketing community to look at this situation carefully and see if we can help these 6 clubs find a suitable place to play for 2014 and beyond.
Andrew Hayhurst (Managing Director)