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Slight shakeup in GMCL Premier Division
Monday 19th March 2018 @ 09:48 by Mark Phillip

With the new season only five weeks away the Greater Manchester Cricket League has faced a real challenge as Division 1 Champions in 2016, Bamford Fieldhouse, announced that they are unable to field a 1st XI this season, leaving the Premier Division with just 11 teams. League officials have been aware of this for some weeks and have spent time working out just how to respond.

In a statement last week the GMCL stated “The disruption that this has caused to our plans for the 2018 season cannot be overstated and it is our priority to minimise this disruption for our member clubs.” They went on to outline a series of decisions which had been taken. The GMCL stated: “Our overriding priority was agreed as being maintaining the 12 team Premiership as our flagship Division”.

The decision taken in order to restore the Premier Division as a 12 team competition is the reinstatement of Egerton CC into the Premiership. Egerton were of course relegated from the Premiership at the end of 2017 and had been placed in Division 1B – this was a fall from grace for the team which had taken the Premiership title in the first year of the GMCL, 2016. The GMCL was determined to follow the line of least disruption and so any knock on effects of these decisions stopped at Division 1.

Bamford Fieldhouse have committed to compete at 2nd, 3rd and at Junior team level in the season 2018. The GMCL stated that “it will continue to support the club in its efforts to reinstate 1st XI cricket”. It is another episode for a Club with a recent history which has certainly been chequered. Bamford were expelled by the Saddleworth and District League in 2013 and spent two years in the wilderness prior to the start of the GMCL in 2016.

Locally the decisions taken have an impact on some of our local Clubs. Dukinfield and Glossop will now play in an 11 team division 1B and will have 2 weekends without cricket. In terms of the reinstatement of Egerton, following relegation, this may have led to raised eyebrows at Flowery Field. The Throstle Bank Street club went into the last weekend of the 2017 season with high hopes of promotion to the Premiership. However, the complete washout on September 9th left them in 5th place, agonisingly one point adrift of 4th placed Edgworth who were promoted. There of course is an argument that Flowery should have got the nod , based on an excellent season, rather than the reinstatement of a Club who had failed to meet the standard in 2017. Flowery will no doubt be hoping that the 2018 campaign in Division 1A will give them the opportunity to show that they are indeed worthy of a Premiership spot.

By Martin Frost