Start of new Bradford League season delayed

Chris Holliday has moved from Townville to join Cleckheaton in a new look Bradford Premier League this season.
Chris Holliday has moved from Townville to join Cleckheaton in a new look Bradford Premier League this season.

The inaugural All-rounder Bradford Premier League has put the start of the new cricket season back a week to Saturday April 23.

In one of the biggest overhauls to local cricket in over a century the Bradford and Central Yorkshire Leagues have merged in the close season, bringing a four division structure, which forms part of a pyramid in Yorkshire club cricket.

A new-look Premier Division consists of last season’s Bradford League Division One clubs, with two parallel Championship sections below, followed by a Conference.

However, after consulting member clubs, the league management board have decided to postpone this Saturday’s matches, delaying the big kick off by seven days.

Fixtures in the Premier Division and Second Teams Premier Division will now be played on Saturday September 10 with a noon start.

The one exception will be the Second Team game between Yeadon and East Bierley which will be played on Sunday, September 11 at noon.

The Championship A, Championship B, Conference and the respective Second Team Divisions will now be played on Saturday, September 17.

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 hard in an incredibly difficult situation.

“In re-arranging the games we have observed the wishes of clubs who have indicated that they do not wish to play league matches on a Sunday and therefore have set dates in September when the weather is usually more favourable.”

Former Methley and Townville player Chris Holliday is among four signings Cleckheaton have made, while opening batsman Tim Jackson has moved from Cleckheaton — where he won first division titles in 2013 and 2014 — to join neighbours Woodlands.

Opening bowler Tom Chippendale (Ossett) and top order batsman Richard Foster (Methley) are among Hanging Heaton’s new recruits.

There will be new surroundings for Mirfield and Mirfield Parish Cavaliers, who have opted against joining the Premier League in favour of switching to the Drakes Huddersfield League, where they join neighbours Moorlands.

Parish and Mirfield will start in the third tier Conference and host Birkby Rose Hill and Denby Dale respectively in Saturday’s opening games.

Moorlands were relegated from the top flight last season and start at home to Thongsbridge in the Championship.

At the time of going to press it was hoped that Sunday’s Heavy Woollen Cup first round matches would be able to be staged as planned, although clubs could have the option of switching ties to Sunday April 24 or May 1.