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Date set for NCU vote on restructuring leagues from 2022 onwards



Jacques Snyman will be making a return to Carrick

Jacques Snyman will be making a return to Carrick

Jacques Snyman will be making a return to Carrick

The annual meeting of the Northern Cricket Union will be held on Wednesday, December 2 when clubs will vote on proposals to restructure the leagues for the 2022 season.

It is expected that a 10-team Premier League - up from the current eight teams - will be the way forward, but planning has begun for a 14-match programme of 50-over matches next season, in the hope that some sort of normality will have returned.

This year the Premier League was replaced by the Robinson Services Cup, when the eight top-flight teams played each other once, and the T20 Cup went ahead along normal lines, but the Challenge Cup was not held for the first time since 1945 because all club competitions were restricted to 20-over games.

This week's NCU board meeting accepted that the T20 competition was a big hit with spectators but everyone said it was essential to return to 50-over cricket as soon as possible, if only for the development of young cricketers.

Clubs will be invited to forward proposals this month to be considered at the AGM, and while only one person per club will be invited to take part in the Zoom meeting, votes will still be weighted to ensure clubs with four Saturday teams will have four votes and clubs with two teams will have two votes.

Roger Bell of Carrickfergus will take over the presidency at the meeting and the new vice-president will be confirmed.

In anticipation of a full season, two Premier League sides have already announced an overseas professional for next summer, with Jacques Snyman returning to Carrickfergus and Waringstown having signed former Civil Service North professional Andre Malan.

Ardmore, who failed to win a match this year in the North West - their only success was in a bowl-out in the semi-final of the Eric Cooke Cup - have also moved quickly to improve their fortunes next season by confirming South African Tyron Koen as their professional.

The 22-year-old all-rounder played in the East Anglian Premier League from 2017-19.

The North West AGM is also set to be held in December but before then officials will have a series of Zoom calls with clubs to get their views on the set-up for next season.

Everything is on the table, including the number of teams in the Premiership, and while several senior clubs have said they would be happy to have an entire season of T20 competitions, such was the success of this year's curtailed programme, there will be a return to 50-over cricket, circumstances permitting.

One definite change, already agreed by the NW clubs, is that every competition will be played with a white ball in coloured clothing.

Belfast Telegraph