Statement on the Future of League Cricket in the West Midlands

Written by: Richard Cox
Date: 05/05/2017

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A meeting was recently convened to discuss the future of League Cricket across the West Midlands and in particular the future of the structure of the ECB Birmingham and District Premier Cricket League. This meeting was comprised of at least one formal representative/ lead officer from the following bodies:   

Birmingham and District Premier Cricket League 
Shropshire County Cricket League 
Staffordshire Club Cricket Championship 
Warwickshire Cricket League 
Worcestershire County League 
County Cricket Boards – Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire 
ECB Leagues and Clubs Executives
ECB Regional Team Executives   

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recent proposal to restructure BDPCL to 2 divisions (24 clubs in total) from the current 48 clubs with associated adjustment within the County Leagues that support the current League set-up. The proposal was defeated at the BDPCL AGM by a narrow margin of 23-25 votes. Following further discussion, it has been decided that there is sufficient appetite for change amongst the above stakeholders given the closeness of the voting process.   

Outcomes of the recent meeting were as follows –   

Moving Forward 

1. How do Leagues wish to move forward from here 
  • Proposal is worth re-visiting. 
  • More leadership required – ECB to play the facilitator role, not driver but to be more actively ‘engaged’ than hitherto. 
  • Seek Club information on their decisions and their aspirations for the future. 
 2. Role of the Birmingham League and County Leagues: 
  • More Play 
  • Great Teams 
  • Clubs having a greater identity within their communities 
  • Quality of Cricket and Facilities across the Region 
3. Role of County Cricket Boards 
  • CCBs are integral to the change process – up to now they have been on the fringes of the process and need to be more aligned with the Leagues 
  • Identify the benchmark between Senior Club Cricket and Recreational Club Cricket    
4. How Can We Improve the Process? 
  • Collect stats and figures to evidence the why. 
  • Not just a BDPCL issue, it’s an issue for Cricket 
  • In future we will seek the views/votes that represent the players and the vote accordingly
  • Set-out the vision for regional cricket, vision for each County League and the Birmingham League 
  • County Boards and League will be clearly positioned to understand, approve and articulate the vision – acknowledging there will be the need for some excellent resources to support the process 
  • Articulate the downturn in the worth of the Birmingham League brand.
  • “One back, two up” vision – will be clearly explained and articulated. 
  • Raise awareness and keep in constant communication with everyone on progress.
  • Explain to people why and when with a timeline e.g. 2019 / 2020 
  • Ensure it will be an engaging process – presenting it as an option for discussion debate and input from delegates including Clubs as well as League Administration and County Cricket Boards. 
  • Strengthen the identity of the County Leagues 
Next Steps   

1. Consultation should continue during the season 
2. Offer regular statements of progress via direct communication plus via the media/social media informal and formal gatherings 
3. ECB’s role will be leadership and facilitation unless direction is specifically requested 
4. All five Leagues will sit tightly together over the next 12 – 18 months, senior representatives of the Leagues and CCBs to be in regular dialogue.   

Vision for cricket across the West Midlands:   

The role of the Birmingham League and County Leagues together is to “raise the standard of cricket, facilities and increase participation across the West Midlands”   

For more information please contact –   Nick Archer and/or your CCB and/or ECB Regional Team.