PICTURESQUE: Aldbrough St John struggled for players last season
PICTURESQUE: Aldbrough St John struggled for players last season

IT is one of the most idyllic cricket grounds in the North East – but Aldbrough St John CC is struggling to put out two teams on a Saturday afternoon.

The club even faced the prospect of its second XI being kicked out of the Darlington and District League.

Under league rules, expulsion must be considered when a team concedes five or more fixtures. Aldbrough failed to put out a second team on six occasions last season.

Happily for the club, when the issue came before the league’s annual meeting there was no support for expulsion.

First team stalwart Michael Priestley said unavailability in the senior XI of up to five players some weeks had a knock-on effect for the seconds.

Despite this, he said the club was in decent shape.

“The club is in a good state of finance and standing within the village,” he said.

“We have got all the officials in place and fully support the league and its goals.

“The second team had a good go at it and played a lot of games with just nine.”

He added: “The club has had two teams for 40 years. If given the chance, we can make a good fist of rectifying the problem.”

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He said more pre-season nets would be organised, the club would increase its profile locally and any other ideas to attract players would be welcomed.

“With its football pitch, low green and cricket field all adjacent, Aldbrough boasts one of England's largest village greens,” added Mr Priestley.

“Our club is friendly and welcoming, evidenced by the range of ages playing in both teams and our one female playing member.

“We will be very accommodating to any new members we can find in the coming months.”

Anyone interested in the club or in trying their hand at Aldbrough St John CC net sessions can do so by contacting Michael Priestley on 07552 924592 or at michaelpriestley@outlook.com.

League secretary Martin Vickerman told the meeting that despite Aldbrough’s struggles, it was an improving picture.

“This year, we completed 294 games – 84 per cent.

“Only four per cent were cancelled and four per cent were abandoned.”

He added that the introduction of neutral umpires had resulted in much fewer disciplinary issues.