Cricket on hold due to bad weather

THE EAGERLY-awaited historic opening to the inaugural All Rounder Cricket Bradford Premier League season will have to wait. 

On Tuesday night the decision was made by the league’s management board to postpone the opening day fixtures due to the difficulty clubs have been having with their pitch preparations.

Because of saturated outfields many clubs just cannot get machinery onto the square to prepare the playing surface and, with this situation affecting such a high proportion of the member clubs, it has been decided to reschedule all Premier Division games for September 10.

League chairman David Young said: “The opinions of the clubs were overwhelming. The wet weather has been unprecedented and we appreciate that all clubs have been working very hard in an incredibly difficult situation.

“In rearranging games we have observed the wishes of clubs who have indicated they do not want to play league matches on a Sunday.

“Therefore, we have set dates in September when the weather is usually more favourable.”

When Hanging Heaton open their season at Bennett Lane next week visitors may not notice the work that has been done on the playing area, but one change will be immediately apparent – the landmark poplar trees at the Fox and Hounds end of the ground have been cropped.

Around 15 feet were lopped off the tops of the trees in what was a major makeover.

“We, as a club, were immensely proud to win the ground award last season,” said cricket chairman John Carruthers.

“But there is no resting on our laurels. We are always striving to improve the facilities at Bennett Lane and the experience for visiting players and spectators.”

However, if the Bennett Lane men can maintain the playing improvement shown last year that experience might not be such an enjoyable one for visitors in the coming months as far as results go.

The newly-formed Bradford League Championship Division’s have had their opening day fixtures postponed, along with the rest of the league, but while tomorrow’s scheduled games will now be played on September 17, a week after the Premier Division games, they have been hit by further disruption following the withdrawal of Windhill.

High Busy Lane, Windhill, has been the home of Windhill Cricket Club for more than a century.

Windhill had been allocated to the Championship A Division and this means Birstall, Batley, Ossett and Liversedge will all be finding themselves with two blank weeks this season.

With the Conference Division already having an odd number of teams it is a shame the Windhill situation came too late for a reshuffle that might have prevented those frustrating days when clubs will inevitably be left idle despite perfect playing conditions.

Next week’s opening day will have a familiar feel to it for the Dewsbury and district clubs for Birstall will entertain Batley and Ossett are at home to Liversedge.

In the Conference Heckmondwike and Carlinghow were actually one the few clubs whose ground would have been fit to start this week but, while they begin with a home game against Adwalton next week, neighbouring Crossbank are the odd team out and will have to wait a further week to open their season.

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