The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind

Well, we have had our first unfulfilled fixture of the season, as the league website reports that Offerton 2nd XI conceded their Hawke Trophy match against Hayfield. To be honest, I am surprised it has taken 3 weeks, but then again, the juniors have not really started yet. 

So what is the answer? Well, there have been various suggestions to make the Hawke trophy optional, or 20-20, or played midweek, but it is not just the Hawke Trophy. The junior side of cricket needs to be looked at, and in particular the participation of juniors on Saturday afternoons. 

My views, which are not necessarily those of Whaley Bridge Cricket Club, are as follows… 

First XI cricket – leave as is. Seems fine to me, though there were some notably weakened Bissenden sides at the weekend. Should double weekends be a thing of the past? Open to debate. 

Second XI cricket 

I think that second XI cricket should be a reduced number of overs. My suggestion is 30. I am not in favour of instantly turning league cricket into a quick thrash, particularly as this reduces the opportunity for juniors to get involved. However, there is no doubt that the concentration levels of under 17s, 16s, etc can suffer in a 45 over game, particularly when the wind is blowing and it is cold and wet as has happened the past two weekends. I also appreciate that there are some clubs that do not have too many juniors in their second XI, and they still want to play a full 45 over match. Well, perhaps the reduced overs should only apply in division 4. 

Hawke Trophy 

Make it 20-20. Simple. Reduce a seven hour contest to three, and thereby encourage more participation from Saturday cricketers (and juniors). Also, enable the reserve date rules about a reduced game to apply on the original date. At the moment it is possible to play 79 overs and still have to start again on the reserve date. I really do not think that the Hawke Trophy should be made optional, in fact I do not think that any cricket within the boundaries of the league should be optional, including juniors. How does that encourage youth and ensure the long term future of our clubs and our game? Not got enough juniors? Go out into the local schools and promote. It takes time, effort and dedication, but so does fielding for 45 overs in a blizzard! 


Scrap them. It has been said that we are a cash rich league. Well, let’s give something back by doing away with fines, and instead having a points deduction system. So, for instance, Offerton would be deducted 10 points for failing to fulfill a fixture. Would the points come off the first or second team total? I would suggest the firsts, or maybe even both! Only got 10 men? Two points deducted. Cannot fulfill a junior fixture? Five points deducted (yes – from the first team). 

All highly speculative, but rather than people whispering in the background, we, as members of the league, need to put together a coherent proposal for discussion. I offer this as a starter for ten!