North of Scotland cricket Senior League 'nearing crisis point' according to association's vice president
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The North of Scotland Cricket Association say the Senior League is nearing a crisis point – but they are doing all they can to help clubs survive.
Reigning champions Highland are unlikely to defend their title when competitive action resumes this summer due to a lack of available players, while Buckie have also pulled out.
After Huntly moved to the Strathmore league and Fort William stepped away, that means the number of teams entering the senior league has dropped from nine in 2019 to just five in 2021.
Nosca vice president Chris Blake believes the drop in numbers has put the competition close to breaking point, but the association are actively looking into ways to support struggling clubs, as well as how to make cricket more accessible.
“It’s not great, and it’s nearing crisis point,” Blake admitted.
“We’re not there yet, but we need to address this and we need to see what can be done to help these clubs.
“It has kind of been a perfect storm with Covid and everything, it hasn’t helped matters at all.
“With hardly any cricket played last year at all, it has been difficult to keep guys interested and keep clubs functioning.
“Some of these clubs were maybe short of players to start with, and if they have lost two or three guys for whatever reason, then it has maybe just tipped the balance for them.
“We’ve got a nine-team reserve league and a five-team senior league, so we need to look closely at whether or not Sunday is a better in this day and age.’
Other options available to Nosca are to reduce the length of league games from 45 overs-a-side, or start games earlier so that they in turn finish earlier. Blake, however, sees some reason to be optimistic about cricket’s future in the region.
“The other two clubs that historically used to play in the Senior League were Kinloss, who were a military team, and RAF Lossiemouth,” he added.
“We’re seeing some green shoots at Lossiemouth, so we’re hopeful that they might enter a team.”