League Statement on Potential Divisions 2019 2019 Potential Divisions possibilities
During the winter, the LMC have had some concerns over the increase of the ECB Cornwall Premier League from 10 to 12 Teams for 2018 because of conversations with clubs. We thank those with concerns for their honesty and willingness to share their struggles in preparation for the 2018 season. However the formation of a 12 team Premier division was the vote of the clubs at the 2017 AGM and the LMC have duly tried to implement those wishes.
However the well-documented events of the last 12 months have hardly given us a favourable impression that 24 ‘Countywide teams’ are sustainable, we will continue to listen to club officers and player’s views and monitor attitudes, team selection and performance. In fact it could be argued that the previous 22 teams were too many and the Premier League would be better off being reduced rather than increased in size. There were short sided teams and concessions in County Division 1 in 2018 and two clubs were automatically relegated for not meeting criteria, thus reprieving the two teams finishing bottom. Then during the winter a Premier League side requested to be demoted and has been replaced by the fourth-placed team in County 1, only for another Premier team to withdraw a few weeks later, at a late stage where the consequences could not be mitigated. We understand other sides also have concerns over their player strengths and even where Premier second teams are in Division 2, it is not always, unfortunately, that those players wish to step up to play at the top level. The difficultly and cost of bringing overseas players with the right to be paid has also influenced player numbers and is likely to widen the gap between the well-resourced top teams and the rest of our top tier teams and also, anecdotally, has led to a different market being established that has had a destabilising effect on player loyalty.
As we move into 2019 under a proposed new partnership agreement with ECB, we are no longer primarily tasked by ECB to run a Premier League of top clubs. ALL 70 of our clubs will belong to our ‘Premier League’ and participation at all levels will have an equal importance. We will be led by the recently refocused principles and purposes which are copied below and are in order of importance.
The guiding principles of a Premier League are:
The purpose of a Premier League is ‘to create and develop the right environment for players to experience cricket’ by:
Therefore, as the 2018 season progresses the LMC will closely monitor and evaluate the Premier and County Division 1 competitions. We reserve the right to act, if required, to maintain the credibility and quality at the top level of the Cornwall Cricket League as dictated by our overriding mandate to maintain player satisfaction and act in their interest to ensure continued participation. Of course it may well be that a Premier League with teams of different standards will work as it does in many sports and leagues. Indeed, until the recent eventual withdraw of two Premier teams, the fact that other clubs in a 12 team division were considered of a similar lower playing strength had led to a hope and willingness to carry on despite an understandable fear of lack of ability to compete with the best. Whatever the ideal size is perceived to be by individuals in the clubs and County, clubs at the lower end of top tier league size are likely to continue to feel under pressure either pre-season or during it.
From an LMC standpoint, the consequence is that it is not easy to manage, nor is it guaranteed that a division’s current number of teams will be sustained at any point in time in either of the top two divisions.
The attached 2019 Potential Divisions possibilities document has some options and of course, there are many more with 6 team leagues or 10 throughout the whole structure, any of which could be decided to be proposed for adoption for the 2019 season. If that were the case it may mean reformatting of the divisions AFTER the promotions and relegations in 2018 had taken effect. Therefore the
finishing position of teams, in all divisions, might have a significant final bearing in the make-up of the 2019 divisions. In the event of any reformatting teams that win promotion would be guaranteed a place in the division above i.e. not regarded as positions 11 and 12 after being promoted and then immediately relegated following reformatting.
The LMC has a large number of playing members who sit on a Player and Club Feedback/ Development Committee and I will be looking for well-researched guidance from them, the wider LMC but most importantly the players in our top divisions as the season progresses to what and when changes, if any, need to be made to help make our top leagues club stable and give a good playing experience to all players involved.
The expected promotion and relegations of the status quo, of 24 Countywide playing clubs in 2019, has already been issued to clubs. It is not perfect in that it leads to in balance and incomplete divisions for 7 east and west but it is impossible to plan on 148 teams that were fixtured this year actually being the number in 2019 at this stage.
Clearly, the pros and cons of any decisions to restructure will need careful consideration by all clubs and players affected. It would not be the LMC’s intention to make changes that are not fully supported or initiated by the majority of clubs and particularly under the current remit, the players.
This statement is being released at to the start of the 2018 season so that clubs are fully aware of the potential implications before the season gets going in earnest and to make clubs and players aware that every league position may count if we feel the need to propose the alteration of the structure or division sizes. All I will add is I hope we get a decent summer and enjoyable competitive cricket for all.