NW proposing league restructuring
Lawrence Moore (CricketEurope)
The North West Cricket Union will meet with club representatives next week to discuss proposals for restructuring the game at domestic level from the start of the 2021 campaign.
While the full context of those proposals will be sent to clubs ahead of the meetings, the NW Board of Control agreed at a meeting last night to release a synopsis of their plans for general consideration.
If passed by members, the new format would see a three-tier set-up for clubs for an initial three year period, but up for debate after two.
Basically, all 15 senior clubs would enter a 'Pro 40' competition of two groups from the start of the season. The groups would be evenly split based on accumulated league points over the last couple of seasons.
Group A would include Brigade, Bready, Glendermott, Strabane, Ardmore, Fox Lodge, St Johnston and Bonds Glen.
Eglinton, Donemana, Coleraine, Ballyspallen, Burndennett, Killyclooney and Newbuildings would then make up group B.
Teams would play each other once with the top four in each group then going through to play a knock-out competition for the Premiership trophy.
The remainder of the sides would play a knockout for the Championship title and there would be no promotion/relegation system in play.
40-over matches would start at 12 noon and there would be no provision for replays.
The second phase of the season would be the senior cup in its regular format- straight knockout 50 over competition with one replay date available for all ties. All 50 over matches would start at 11am as passed at the AGM in 2019.
Teams knocked out in the first round of the senior cup would go into an open draw for the Sammy Jeffrey with both competitions reverting back to 2 innings 50 over finals.
It is expected that the Irish Senior and National Cups will also be played during the first two phases of the season.
The final segment would be a T20 competition played at the end of the season similar to last year with 4 groups of four teams playing each other twice.
The group winners would go into the semi-finals of the Faughan Valley Cup with second placed teams into the Eric Cooke Cup and those finishing third into the Sam McConnell Cup. Teams finishing fourth in groups will be eliminated.
The Qualifying Leagues would be re-branded to Divisions 1, 2 and 3. They too would have reduced-over league games (proposed 30), 40-over cup games with 2-day final and their own T20 competition to run alongside the senior tournaments.
All teams will have the opportunity to bring a Tier 5 overseas player but there will be no scope for the overseas 'amateur' option.
One other interesting footnote that clubs are being asked to consider is the 'Australian Model' system for ensuring that clubs are encouraged to use players brought up through their own ranks.
Basically, existing players at each club count for 1 point and an overseas player, plus any player brought in from another club counts as 3.
Each team has a maximum 15 points available to them for any game, so if they have a professional, they can only play one other player who has joined from another club that season.
Those two players plus 9 'homegrown' players would equate to the maximum 15 points.
Once a player has been at his new club for a season he will only count as 2 points the following year and then 1 in the third season and beyond.
The idea is to encourage clubs to develop their own players and has been a great success 'down under'.
Elsewhere, the Union has also carried out a huge amount of work in recent weeks aimed at restructuring our youth system and the women and girls game.
These proposals will be included in the full document going out to clubs next week.
Obviously there is much to consider in the coming weeks but we feel that these are well thought out ideas which will hopefully be the first stage of making the sport here a more inclusive product.