THE Lancashire League is unlikely to take any Ribblesdale League clubs as part of their 2018 expansion plans.

Ten sides have applied to join the Lancashire League, which extends to 17 clubs this season and is hoping to become a 24 team two division structure next year.

But an agreement is currently in place between the Lancashire League, Ribblesdale League and the Lancashire Cricket Board that no more teams will be taken from the Ribblesdale League to protect that competition.

Despite that three clubs from the Ribblesdale League have applied. Euxton confirmed to the Lancashire Telegraph that they were one of the applicants, while Cherry Tree and Salesbury have also applied.

But Lancashire League chairman Mike Bibby said they expect to adhere to the current agreement.

He said: “We have had 10 applications. We have done most of the visits aside from one and we are now reviewing those applications and will put a proposal to league clubs for the monthly meeting on March 29. The 17 full member clubs will have a vote.

“We had conversations with the LCB on Monday night and the talks were very positive.

“At the moment there is an agreement in place with the LCB and the Ribblesdale League that we won’t take any more clubs from them and I would imagine we will stick to that.”

The Lancashire League released a statement in which it confirmed the applications have come from clubs who are currently members of the Pennine League, Greater Manchester League and Ribblesdale League.

The Pennine League confirmed that Norden, Rochdale and Walsden had applied to the Lancashire League while Littleborough and Middleton are believed to have joined them. The Greater Manchester League confirmed that Egerton and Edenfield have applied.

Both of those leagues are welcoming applications for new members.

The Ribblesdale League lost Clitheroe and Great Harwood ahead of this season but, although it is not set in stone, none are set to be admitted unless agreed by both leagues and the LCB. LCB Managing Director Bobby Denning told the Lancashire Telegraph that they remain committed to ensuring the future of cricket and leagues in Lancashire.

He said: “The meeting we had with the Lancashire League was very positive and we are now up to date with the expansion process and also spent some time looking at plans for the 2017 season.

“We’ll now look to arrange a meeting between the Lancashire League and Pennine Cricket League to discuss the Lancashire League’s expansion plan and the possibility of Pennine League clubs moving.

“The LCB’s wish and aim for the Ribblesdale League is that it feeds into the Lancashire League. There is an agreement with the Lancashire League to discuss that at the end of the 2017 season and the Lancashire League is happy to have basic talks with the Ribblesdale League before then to keep the discussion going.”