New proposals death knell for some LCU clubs?
The LCU have announced their intended proposals to keep the status quo in the Premier Division with an eight-team league.
Division 2 will become a 9 team league with the next best teams from Division 3 being promoted.
To the casual observer this may seem like a good idea allowing a pathway for 'the next best 1sts XI's outside of the top tier gaining promotion to what was formerly known as senior cricket.
Balbriggan have shown that this is possible however this was not without years of hard work on and off the field.
With North Kildare the only 1st XI in Division 3 rooted to the bottom of the table, naturally the top two teams coming up to Division 2 for 2019 will be two 2nd XI's.
There is a precedent for this with The Hills 2, Leinster 2, North County 2, Merrion 2, YMCA 2 and Merrion 2 all taking part in Div 2 in the past.
Would they wish to return now?
However that was at a time when most of our Irish Internationals were plying their trade in county cricket.
With many of our Senior Internationals playing at home these days, this would have repercussions for clubs where these internationals may seek pastures new if they were to learn they would be playing against 2nd XI's in 2019 and beyond.
The same will apply for any talented player with aspirations of playing for Leinster Lightning, they may feel they have to join a "Premier League" club to be taken seriously.
The anomaly of having Trinity playing only half a season results in another anomaly of having a nine team league to compensate for this.
In 2018, with North Kildare pulling out gave clubs only 11 league games spread out over 22 weekends.
This has lead to an unsatisfactory experience for players, with many free weekends. With the cricket seasons being so short, this is almost a cardinal sin.
Most club cricketers would share the common desire to have a league match every weekend uninterrupted by cup runs.
A nine team Division Two will obviously fill the gap in the league fixtures giving clubs 15 league matches, however this false economy will fix one problem but create a bigger one.
The Premier League will become an arms race (which it is already flirting with), with clubs hiring more than one paid player to avoid the catastrophy of relegation, meanwhile in Division 2 some clubs will likewise feel the need to splurge on multiple paid pros to try get out of an irrelevant league.
Overall this will be detrimental for club cricket in Leinster with less empahasis on youth development, coaching our own players and blooding young players at 1st team level and continued empahasis on hiring paid players.
A respected former Ireland international had this to say about the proposals.
"Cricket Leinster need to focus on developing the clubs rather than hindering them, with more focus put on player development.
"Eight team leagues were introduced with good intentions of competitive cricket, but the stakes are too big now, interprovincial cricket is now the pinnacle and that should be the most competitive.
"Clubs should be able to play youngsters without fear that they will let the club down, and play their part in being a breeding ground for the next generation of homegrown cricketers.
"Players will always have pride in the jersey so there is no fear that an amalgamated Division 1 and 2 for example would be less competitive."
The LCU proposals will be debated at an open day during the close season. It promises to be an engaging discussion.