A Lesson in Demographics

Things that make you go hmmm.

Study any team photo from the last twenty years and ask yourself whatever happened to Ian Collier, Milky Morton or Alex Tweddle? When did you last see David Booth, John Arnfield, Jason Tatton or Kieron Morton? Born and bred Whaley cricketers who emerged from the junior ranks.

Add to the mix, Howard Crowther, Phil Crick and Tink Taylor .Players who joined for a couple of seasons such as Chris Kelly, Phil Leadbetter, or Nick Allinson. There are plenty of others, but you get the point.

Rewind to the mid- 80s and it’s a different story.

The regular playing squad from 1983 makes interesting reading.

S Woolley

D Crompton

D Beeley

W Morton

M Hague

M Thompson

T Arnfield

D Cadwallader

B Shaw

G Morton

G Plant

R Hambleton

N Shaw

N Latham

R Frith

R Yates

I Wild

R Wild

J Prior

N Johnson

R Clayton

F Fletcher

C Wild

L Dyer

J Goddard

J Ashton

Sadly, at least four of these players have since departed for the great commentators box in the sky. However the vast majority are still involved in some capacity, either as a player, supporter, Groundsman, or committee member.

Expand the debate and you’ll find that other teams are no different. The world is a smaller place and cricket has suffered more than most

.”Why play cricket when you can study Football Studies at John Moores University and earn a good living from teaching “Soccer” to the Yanks?”, as a former Hazel Grove junior explained to me the other day.

Cricket is no longer a way of life or a symbol of a village’s identity. It’s now a sport that struggles to fight its corner against the ever-expanding world of alternate and trendier forms of recreation. You can’t reverse the clock, yet the DCCL continues to preach outdated 1980s methodology.

Junior cricket is important, but it’s not the main reason why teams are struggling for players. You could even argue that Whaley Bridge has never had such a professional junior set-up yet the second X1 is frequently one man short on a Saturday morning.

I don’t need to complete a questionnaire to recognise that the DCCL lacks vision and social awareness. It needs proactive innovation and the sooner the better. The games needs to be shorter with no relegation, less travelling and more local derbies.

I made the same point last year and High Lane have since folded.

Tick Tock….