National League Update - Confused………..you will be!
It may have been noticed by some keen winter observers that there have been various goings on regarding the National League set up in Scotland. At an end of season meeting of all of the SNCL clubs, a vote was taken and it was agreed that rather than carrying on with the three league set up of 2011, the National Leagues would revert to a two league set up in 2012 with ten teams in each league. This set up would have seen Forfarshire playing in the Premier Division once again next year.
All pretty straight forward you would think – especially with a democratic vote having taken place? Not in the confused world of Scottish cricket I am afraid…….
The teams based in the West of Scotland were unhappy about the outcome of the vote - and so the West based teams decided to have their own meeting; at which they voted overwhelmingly to go against the National League decision and are now going to set up their own West coast based league for 2012 instead. As a result the 2012 National League set up which was voted for and agreed upon is now effectively dead in the water.
This leaves two options for the teams outwith the West of Scotland.
Option 1 – Form a new “national league” which would involve all remaining teams not affiliated to the West Coast organisation. This would still see Forfarshire playing in the top division against the likes of Grange, Carlton, Arbroath and Aberdeenshire and still see competitive top flight cricket of a high standard.
Option 2 – The teams in the East (Edinburgh area) decide to go it alone like their counterparts in the West and set up a more local based league set up – which they had pre National Leagues in the form of the East League – and is a set up which still exists. If they did this – then this would then leave the teams outside of the West and East organisations to find a way of playing competitive cricket. This would include Forfarshire…..
In the case of scenario 1 then things remain fairly straightforward. However if scenario 2 kicks in, then Forfarshire would find themselves then joining a “Caledonia” based league set up which to all intents would be a wider reaching Strathmore Union – indeed it may well be the Strathmore Union. Assuming this happened the top league that Forfarshire competed in could include Arbroath United, Aberdeenshire, Stoneywood Dyce and the top 6 Strathmore Union teams.
There are also clubs such as Stirling, West Lothian and Dunfermline who sit somewhere in the middle as well and who were part of the old Counties set up pre National Leagues. Where would they end up playing? Who knows….. I did say it was confusing…..
From a Forfarshire point of view, if the Strathmore Union is the vehicle used to provide league cricket for the former National League sides based in this area - then the second team would slip into the second tier of teams once again (having just been promoted)- and the third team would slip into the third tier and you have an unwelcome scenario for our club of two teams being relegated due to league reconstruction. (For those not aware the third team will now be promoted after Arbroath XI’s decision to decline promotion)
It is clear that there is much talking to do among the corridors of power in Cricket Scotland and in the regional hubs before a set up can be agreed.
From Forfarshire’s standpoint, hopefully the powers that be will be able to convince the Edinburgh teams that a reduced National League is the way to go - and the level that out first team has worked so hard to compete in can continue to be enjoyed in the coming years. A step back into regional cricket would clearly be a step backwards in terms of playing standard and playing facilities.
The continuation of the national leagues will also give an ongoing platform for all of the emerging players at the club to compete at the best level possible in all of our teams and hone their skills and improve their game. Overall of course – it will help to enhance the standard of young cricketer at all clubs and hopefully assist in the development of international players of the future.
At this stage anything is still possible, but hopefully a speedy conclusion will be reached and preparations can begin for the 2012 season… Who said the winter was dull?