Village cricket league aims to start season on time
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
OFFICIALS at the Darlington and District League are planning to start the season as scheduled on Saturday, April 17, with league matches reverting to 40 overs a side.
Having put off a decision on the make-up and playing conditions of the 2021 season at last year’s annual meeting, members of the league executive say it’s all systems go for what they hope will be a full uninterrupted programme of matches.
The league will operate three divisions for the coming season.
There will be 12 teams in the A division, including Raby Castle, Barningham, Cliffe and Aldbrough St John.
The B division will feature 11 teams, including Lands, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Ingleton-based King James and the second teams of Raby Castle and Cliffe.
The C division will have just six teams, playing each other four times, and includes Etherley CC.
East Cowton’s second team has folded and due to the loss of senior players, representatives of Barton CC asked for the first team to drop down to the B division, with the second team in the C division.
As a result, Witton-le-Wear have been promoted to the A division and Eryholme to the B division to take Barton's place.
League president Brian Jones thanked those at Witton-le-Wear and Eryholme for agreeing to the changes.
Full details of the playing conditions for grass roots cricket are still awaited.
Mr Jones said: “Although we will need to wait for the ECB guidelines, it seems very unlikely that we will be able to start the season without precautions being in place and restrictions on the use of pavilions.
“As last year, to protect the health of all players and to support the national effort to curb Covid, we will expect all clubs to conduct risk assessments and have plans in place to ensure compliance with guidelines.”
He added: “However, the executive do not think it necessary to restrict games to 30 overs and we will revert to the normal 40 over format.
“Despite the pandemic and the necessary restrictions on activities, I thought last season was highly successful and enjoyable. I’m sure this season will be the same.”
The league fixture list has been drawn up and in the A division, Raby Castle will open their campaign at Catterick Village, while Barningham head across to Weardale to take on Witton-le-Wear.
Aldbrough St John, who will be among the favourites for honours this season, entertain Middleton St George, while Cliffe face a tricky visit to Teesside to take on Nunthorpe.
In the B division, Lands welcome Spennymoor and Middleton-in-Teesdale are at home to King James. Raby Castle II are at home to Eryholme and Cliffe II open up against Oxbridge.
Etherley's season begins a week later when they visit Barton II in the C division.