Talking Cricket: Any change must be thought through

ANOTHER week and another washout and straight away two of the Lancashire League’s five fixed reserve dates have been taken up. That has led to frustration from players and spectators alike – and has opened up a debate that seems to come around on an annual basis.

That debate surrounds the issue of replays. Some players are for them, some are really dead set against the idea.

The Lancashire League is one of the few leagues still to retain reserve dates. In principal they can be a good idea.

No club wants to lose out on the revenue from say derby day, that can be a real cash cow.

The bar take alone from a big derby can do much to aid the finances of a club – but I can see why some players are set against the idea of replays.

Netting twice a week, a Twenty20 on a Friday followed by a double header can be a real chore for a mere cricket hack like myself, let alone the players.

So maybe there is a need for a change.

But it is the players, who don’t get paid for turning out, who are the ones who have to be consulted before any change is brought in.

The idea of the Lancashire League playing on Bank Holiday Monday has caused a bit of a stir in some quarters and given some of the reactions from players I have spoken to you get the feeling that not all have been consulted by their clubs who vote for these things.

But that is, of course, a two-way street and I know that quite a number of players do forget about their club from the moment the final ball is delivered in September until they start netting again in February or March the next year.

Those in that camp perhaps lose their right to have their say.

The key is in the name, club. It isn’t about now or next week.

It is the duty of everyone involved at their club to make sure there is still a club to attend in 20 years time.

There have been squabbles in league cricket for as long as I remember – and they will go on.

Yes, back in the golden era when thousands flocked to matches the game was perhaps bigger.

But those days are cast aside, the only memories being sepia tinted pictures.

Any change needs to be approached with caution.

A few months ago I was talking to a woman from New Zealand. She wasn’t too sure where Blackburn was – but amazingly she had heard of Bacup.

Was it a family connection? Relatives? No, she had heard of Bacup because Kiwi star Chris Harris has proed up at Lanehead.

That’s a familiar tale. And that’s why caution needs to be exercised.

Radical moves could damage the reputation or even the stability of what is arguably the greatest amateur cricket league on the planet.

And as with the clubs, it is vital the Lancashire League is nurtured so it is still here decades down the line.

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