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Pennine League plans ahead
Monday 27th February 2017 @ 10:45 by Mark Phillip

A month ago Reporter Sport brought news of the potential impact of the expansion plans of the Lancashire League. 

A competition which has seen the same 14 clubs for over a century is now looking forward to growing that number to 24 in time for the 2018 season.  Our analysis indicated that this would have a real impact on the Pennine League, which itself was only formed in 2016.  Indications at that time were that a number of PCL clubs, particularly around the Rochdale area, would look to making application to the Lancashire League.

It now looks certain that 3 PCL clubs, Norden’ Rochdale and Walsden will look to make this move and rumours suggest that Littleborough could well join them.  If these Clubs are accepted into the Lancashire League, and that is not certain at this point, then with a 2 division competition with 12 clubs in each there would potentially need to be a rethink about how the PCL operates.  Additionally, one thing these clubs should be considering is the future situation of their juniors being thrown in doubt if they were to join the Lancashire League.

PCL officials, led by Chairman Nigel Tench, have met this situation positively.  Rather than seeing it as a threat they are planning to use it as an opportunity to strengthen the competition, after a successful first season in 2016.  Tench said “We understand that some of our Clubs may have concerns having heard of the Lancashire League plans.  They need not be – the PCL is looking  forward and will ensure that our competition continues to provide high quality, competitive cricket”

Initially the PCL is looking to attract new Clubs, and has invited applications from interested Clubs.  Details and further information are available from the PCL Secretary, Trevor Harrison, (01457 872843 or by email to [email protected]).

Tench concluded “Whilst we are disappointed to potentially be losing a number of our founder clubs there is much to look forward to.  Our sponsorship deal with JW Lees Brewery, which we know is the best in the North, is being used to help Clubs develop their facilities.  We believe in developing the game at a junior level, and will have 104 junior teams competing this summer.  Additionally we have adapted our 3rd XI competition in order to help juniors make the transition to senior cricket.  Any Club which is interested in being a part of the PCL is encouraged to make contact”.

As this story unfolds over the next few months Reporter Sport will bring you all the latest developments.


By Martin Frost