BY STEVE McHUGH: HEYWOOD’S progress as a well-regarded cricket club in the county has been reflected in one of their top players and administrators being appointed as one of the directors of the Lancashire Cricket Board.
Bobby Cross, 31-year-old record run scorer at Crimble, becomes the youngest member of the Board of Directors following the recent annual meeting.
He is one of two new faces in a revamped Board set-up alongside Mike Watkinson, the 53-year-old former England all-rounder who is currently also Cricket Director with Lancashire Cricket Club itself.
They join chairman Bob Hinchcliffe, the well-known Prestwich administrator, treasurer Bill Robinson (Fylde), Geoff Ogden (Worsley) and Ken Standring (Southport).
And Cross believes that his selection reflects well on the progress that Heywood have been making on and particularly off the field in recent years.
“It was out-of-the blue to be asked and I regard it as an honour not just for myself but recognition for Heywood as a club, both at senior and junior level,” said Cross.
“It was a source of great pride to wear the Red Rose as a player at various levels, and to step into this new role at such an exciting and challenging time for cricket in the county is something I am very much looking forward to.
“I have already worked closely with the LCB staff in relation to club matters and with my involvement coaching on the county junior programme. Now this will allow me to get more involved helping to take the game forward at various levels in the county.”
Heywood have certainly become noticed at Old Trafford in recent years, during which time they have successfully staged several matches at junior and second eleven level.
One of the club’s biggest off-the-field hits was their inaugural NatWest CricketForce day in 2012, when Cross was one of the prime motivators behind the scenes.
The ground and its facilities have also been upgraded in the past few years, with Cross and other Heywood officials working hard to obtain grants for the upgrading of the pavilion’s façade plus new cricket nets and artificial pitches.
Of interest to Cross and the other directors will be ongoing Engagement Meetings involving leagues in the Greater Manchester catchment area.
It is no secret that there is strong debate in the region about the future structure of club cricket, and that some leagues have shown interest in discussing possible options, including potential for mergers and increased co-operation.
Added Cross: “The fact that the LCB has the leagues sat around the table engaged in healthy discussion must be taken as a positive sign for the future of the local game.”
That may have an impact on how the CLL goes forward. They originally voted for a two-year trial of two divisions, but whether that carries on may hinge on what is discussed at the LCB meeting.
The CLL have invited applications for new member clubs, with the possibility of two expanded divisions, but the picture could change if discussions on mergers with other leagues are taken a step forward following the Board’s involvement.
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