White Rose chief Arthur backing county leagues’ revamp

Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
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YORKSHIRE CCC chief executive Mark Arthur believes the county will have the “most competitive league structure in the country” when local cricket across the county is transformed in 2016.

From next season, the top White Rose league sides will compete in four ECB Premier League divisions, with partner leagues beneath them.

It will create a Yorkshire pyramid for club cricket, with promotion and relegation and the 
winners playing in end-of-season Champion of Champion play-offs format.

The semi-finals are expected to be held at Scarborough and Headingley with the final to take place in Abu Dhabi in October 2016.

There are two premier leagues currently operating in Yorkshire, the North Yorkshire South Durham League – which will be unchanged – and Yorkshire League.

Under the structure, the Yorkshire League will be split into two to form Yorkshire League North and Yorkshire League South.

The fourth ECB division will be filled by the Bradford League.

Yorkshire League North will feature seven members of the old Yorkshire League: York, Scarborough, Harrogate, Hull, Castleford, Driffield and the Yorkshire Academy, who will be joined by five teams from its partner league, the York Senior League.

Barnsley, Rotherham, Sheffield Collegiate, Sheffield United, Doncaster, Cleethorpes and Appleby Frodingham from the Yorkshire League will be joined by three teams from their partner league, the South Yorkshire League and two from the Central Yorkshire League.

The Bradford League will be at the pinnacle of the pyramid in the west where the Central Yorkshire League is a partner league.

Talks are ongoing with further leagues to join the pyramids.

The Yorkshire Premier Cricket board will oversee the new structure, featuring two representatives from each of the premier leagues plus Yorkshire chief executive Arthur and Yorkshire Cricket Board executive director for partnerships, Andrew Watson.

Commenting on the developments, Arthur said: “It is right and proper that Yorkshire, as the largest and most successful cricketing county, has a pyramid structure that will enable the best club players to play against each other on a regular basis in the most competitive league structure in the country.

“From 2016 onwards, there will be no argument as to which club is the best in Yorkshire.”