Jun 142013

The clubhouse at Ormskirk

OPINION – By Scoop: I’ve not had a comment/ rant/ moan for a while, but Sunday’s trip to Ormskirk has, to plagiarise the Acts of the Apostles, Ch.9, caused the scales to fall from my eyes.

I’ve always been a proponent of change in the CLL, from the dreadfully outdated modes of administration to the way the league has allowed mediocrity to creep in, and was fully behind the changes to the league structure.

However, on visiting a fabulous ground with great home supporters and watching a fantastic game of cricket at Ormskirk, I just can’t back the two divisions of eight any longer.

The only level I can back the continuation of the two division structure is that of competitiveness. Every game matters and there will be no 12 game unbeaten runs this season. Towards the end of last season it just got dull.

But already, I am losing enthusiasm at the thought of some of the games ahead. I know who is going to bowl, how they are going to bowl, what fields teams are going to set, the plans for batsmen, how batsmen are going to play.

I know what each pitch is going to be like, the inside of every bar, the quality of food and drink, what beers all the clubs serve. By the end of the season, should I go to all these grounds twice or three times, or maybe four, if the Wood Cup permits, I will know everything about a club.

Already I am thinking, do I want to go to Littleborough tomorrow? Especially if the weather is dodgy. Especially as we have another game there yet and have played them just three weeks ago.

We’ve been to Middleton twice already this year and nice as it is, I probably will have to have a perfect day to go again. Same with Walsden, especially as I know the club is cramped if it rains and I know how they play their cricket all too well.

I don’t need to go on.

On Sunday, we welcome Crompton for the Wood Cup. That’s one of my favourite away grounds, and we won’t be going there, maybe for a couple of years, maybe not. I may not like Werneth particularly, but I do like the clubhouse. Nearly every club has something redeeming …

Ormskirk was a magic trip, even without the ending that thrilled all Heywood fans. We had a beaufitul ground, nice supporters in decent numbers, a good wicket, some quick bowlers, players I had never seem before. It was so refreshing.

And I want more of this, more variety. I want to see change – I really don’t want to go back to some of the cricket I have seen in recent years – but I don’t want to play Rochdale or Clifton or Milnrow up to six times a year. I am sure they feel exactly the same about Heywood.

We need two good, bigger divisions, we need mergers of leagues, we need more cup matches, we need a regional LCB Cup – anything to keep players and fans fresh.

Otherwise, there’ll be fewer and fewer away supporters travelling to games, and one of the aims of the restructure will have failed.

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 June 14, 2013  Tagged with: ,  Add comments

  8 Responses to “Why Familiarity Is Already Breeding Contempt”

  1. Here’s my plan….
    The CLL have gone to two divisions, and there is a strong possibility that they will come to realise that eight clubs do not a division make. They see too much of each other. So how about taking the remains of the MDCA (11 Clubs), the SDCL (13 Clubs after they kick Bamford out), and the CLL (16 Clubs.)
    You take the CLL Premier 8, add the top 3 from the SDCL and the top 3 from the MDCA and you have division of 14. Then create a 2nd. and 3rd. Division based on League positions and you have 40 clubs in a 3 Division structure with promotion and relegation. All clubs in the First Division would have to have, or be working towards Clubmark, and support three age groups of Youth Cricket.
    If you did this today, based on current League positions you would have this…. (Clubs listed in alphabetical order.)
    Division One
    Swinton Moorside CC
    Whalley Range CC
    Worsley CC

    Division Two
    Deane & Derby CC
    Lostock CC
    Monton & Weaste
    South West Manchester CC
    Winton CC, Lancs

    Division Three
    Bolton CC
    Bolton Indians CC
    Newton Heath CC
    Wythenshawe CC

  2. I agree what we have is not ideal.However,I don`t agree with change for change sake.We have to be careful that we don`t move backwards and lower our standards and lose our identity completely.The only move should be either a an arrangement with the Lancashire League or invite eight high standard clubs and have two divisions of twelve.

  3. Hello Bob. But the problem is the clubs in the Lancashire League do not want to join with the CLL whereas the SDCL and MDCA clubs do. I cannot see any drop in standards as the better teams will rise to the top of the tree naturally.

  4. Sorry to say it but told you so…………..
    The two divisions was a terrible idea and it will all end in tears – potential demise of clubs, defection of players, boredom among players and supporters alike etc etc.
    If Scott’s view is shared by others, and I suspect it is, then the novelty has already worn off after only ten games – what’s it going to be like come the end of the season?
    If our league wanted change then it should have waited until a potential merger opportunity arose.

  5. Well, Hilts, it’s only a view and I admit I thought you were a little bit sentimental in the past but you were right. I don’t think I’ll bother with L’Boro tomorrow, or only later on when I know it’s on and don’t have to pay. I’ll wait til next time and hope there’s a nicer day. Be same every away day now, I’ll think twice. I’ll prob go, but only probably. The enthusiasm for a trip to play a team who were possibly expected to beat us (Ormskirk) was immense. I now find some regulars staying at Crimble for the 2s instead of firsts league games they’d have gone to see at one stage.
    I am happy with the trial, but it must end at this. It seems already clubs like Crompton have upped their game, and Monton, and although a little bleak at times, I;d prefer a trip to Werneth than two trips to Rochdale. I’m sure other clubs feel the same about coming to Crimble.
    However, the mediocrity of the cricket and the facilities at some clubs has to be addressed. Maybe this is a kick up the backside. Maybe it’s the quiet before the storm of a new East Lancs league structure.
    I don’t, however, think a Saddleworth League merger is the answer. I think we need clubs a little more far afield and with more variety such as South and West Mancs, the edge of Bolton, Wigan etc. Liverpool and Fylde/ Cumbria too far away IMHO, but I think you could split Lancs in two or three quite easily. Anything that encourages clubs to improve facilities, youth development etc.

  6. Scoop my proposal is to merge both the SDCL and MDCA which would provide the reasonable travel distances and quality cricket that you desire. Of course we all like to visit other remote clubs but travel distances need to remain practicable and cost effective too

  7. Ok, fair call. Two other factors need to be taken into consideration, though. One is the quality of ground/ facilities. If it’s going to be a league striving towards excellence, the ground and wicket has to be good, or there has to be commitment to making them excellent. I’m sure some clubs would pay, but there would have to be serious penalties for them putting their money into players rather than facilities. And the other major factor has to be location in relation to other clubs. Bamford can never play in the CLL, as it exists, for several reasons but one is because it is in the catchment area of three big clubs already and it has to be detrimental to standards. I’d like to see the Lancs County League involved in this, TBH, as there seem some very good clubs in that league.

  8. It’s absolutely right to be saying that we shouldn’t be lowering our standards but just how high are our standards in relation to some of these other leagues being mentioned? I wouldn’t think that we hold the high rank that we once did so we shouldn’t be too precious about the CLL and judgemental of others.
    I would think that most leagues have their good and not so good clubs so maybe an amalgamation would bring the best of all worlds – a competitive top division and the rekindling of interest that visiting new surroundings would bring.
    If people are genuinely keen to improve standards then they would not allow a change of name/loss of identity get in the way of that.
    Personally I loved the CLL the way it was – every ground and every team had something different and I never got bored of it. Sentimental old me eh Scott lol!

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