Lancashire League press on with plans

Michael Brown who has been installed as Burnley Cricket Club's new chairman.  A120411/5b
Michael Brown who has been installed as Burnley Cricket Club's new chairman. A120411/5b

The Lancashire League have decided to press on with their expansion plans after a special meeting last week.

A total of 18 clubs, including Chorley, Preston, Leyland, Blackpool, Fleetwood and St Annes, applied to join, but the LCB recommended a six-division structure instead, incorporating the Lancashire League, Northern League, Ribblesdale League and Palace Shield.

But the Lancashire League will continue to pursue the initial idea to move from 14 senior clubs to a maximum of 24, starting next year.

Burnley chairman Michael Brown feels that, initially, is the best way forward: “I don’t think the end goal has changed, that of trying to create a more competitive league structure with more intensity, in terms of promotion and relegation.

“Hopefully we can freshen things up and take the Lancashire League forward.”

No Cumbrian clubs will be considered for membership, and Brown, who recently became a father, sides with that thinking: “Players don’t want to be travelling too far, and the game has changed.

“It’s a different world now, I don’t think my wife would be happy if I left home at eight in the morning and returned home at nine at night!

“Cricket has to be sociable for players and their families – it’s not all about cricket.”

The Lancashire League don’t want to come into conflict with the LCB, but Brown added: “It’s a very delicate balance with the LCB, but we have to do what’s right for our league.

“They want more Premier League clubs playing a certain type of cricket, but it’s about participation and intensity. Yorkshire have a variety of structures, and I don’t feel there should just be one format. And, if in a few years’ time we have provided some excellent players for Lancashire, what’s the problem?”

The league are still interviewing clubs and will have completed the exercise by Monday. No Northern League clubs have withdrawn applications, and a response is anticipated from the LCB next week after they have discussed the matter with the ECB.