Greater Manchester Cricket League to be changed next season
Wednesday 2nd August 2017 @ 11:08 by Mark Phillip

Over recent months Reporter Sport has highlighted the changes to league cricket in the area which will happen in 2018.  The key driver for these is the imminent demise of the Pennine Cricket League only two years after it was formed by bringing together the Central Lancashire and Saddleworth Leagues.  The decision by 7 PCL clubs to successfully apply for membership of the Lancashire League led to a huge degree of uncertainty amongst the remaining clubs and it quickly became apparent that the PCL would not remain a viable competition.  The upshot has been that the remaining PCL clubs will be placed into the Greater Manchester Cricket League with effect from next season.

How this will be effected has been open to question, but a statement, and plan, issued by the GMCL now provides greater clarity.  The proposed structure provides for a Premiership Competition of 60 Clubs, and a Championship Competition of 67 Clubs as follows:

Placement of teams remains to be determined but the GMCL has indicated that promotion places at the end of this season will be honoured; that the original intention to have 4 teams relegated from the Premier Division this season will still apply, but that there will now be no relegation in 2017 from Divisions 1 and 2.  It has also been stated that there will be no regionalisation within the various Divisions other than at Divisions 4 and 5.

The proposal provides the basis for the assimilation of the 17 PCL Clubs into Divisions 1 and 2.  Of these it appears that 8 PCL clubs will be placed in Division 1 with the remaining 9 in Division 2. The placement of these will be determined by an assessment of each of the Clubs, incorporating an inspection of ground; facilities and also playing record over the last two years.

Whilst the final placement in terms of the Tameside PCL clubs remains to be determined it is not unrealistic to suggest that Stayley will be placed in Division 1 and Ashton and Micklehurst in Division 2.  Stayley’s promotion in 2016 and their consolidation in the PCL Premiership this year provides the basis for a placement in the higher division.  Both Ashton and Micklehurst have struggled this year and a place in Division 2 could well allow the clubs to develop and become more competitive.

Whilst the Club assessment procedure remains to be completed,  Reporter Sport is of the view that it would not be a surprise to see Monton; Greenfield; Stayley; Heyside; Glodwick; Austerlands; Saddleworth and Royton placed in Division 1.  That would mean that Moorside; Uppermill; Shaw; Hollinwood; Friarmere; Werneth; Oldham; Micklehurst and Ashton would be in Division 2.

It has also been disclosed that the traditional PCL Cup Competitions, (the Wood and Tanner Cups) will continue, to be competed for amongst what will be ex-PCL clubs.

In terms of the specific Tameside and Glossop context the GMCL will have a significant representation, with 10 clubs featuring in the Premiership, (Premier and Divisions 1 & 2).   As and when further details emerge Reporter Sport will continue to bring news of developments.

By Martin Frost