Sussex Premier Cricket League restructure update

The chairman of the Sussex Premier Cricket League (SPCL) has sent a letter to all clubs with an update about the league's restructure.


We reported in March how the league was reducing it’s current eight divisions to six for the 2017 season.

The restructure will see first and second XI teams facing each other (but not from the same club), and a mixture of timed and limited overs cricket.

Teams would be ranked after promotion and relegation at the end of the 2016 season.

West Sussex Invitation League positions 2017 season

The proposals had been met with mixed reactions and the Exceutive Committee (EC) recently met to discuss the proposals.

In a lettter to all Sussex Premier League Clubs, chairman Bob Warren outlined what was discussed.

Here is the letter in full:

After receiving the results of the ECB National survey two years ago and our own Sussex survey 18 months ago it became apparent to your Executive Committee (EC) that we had to change the format and playing conditions of our league. At the same time it was also recognised that a number of teams were struggling to put out competitive teams, particularly in the lower divisions.

West Sussex Invitation League positions 2017 season

Some of the problem of competitiveness was caused by the integration policy adopted between the Sussex Premier Cricket League (SPCL) and the East Sussex Cricket League (ESCL) and West Sussex Invitation Cricket League (WSICL). The decision to automatically relegate the two 1st X1s finishing bottom of the SPCL 1st X1 competition along with their 2nd X1s to the ESCL and/or the WSICL and replace them with the winners of the 1st divisions of those leagues and their 2nd X1s, regardless of where those 2nd X1s were placed in those leagues has contributed to some of the uncompetitive games we now have.

Taking all of the above into account and with the mandate from the then Sussex Cricket Board, now the Sussex Cricket Foundation, through the Adult Leagues’ Group, to dramatically improve the standard of cricket in the SPCL, the EC started to tackle the issues.

The EC formed a working party, which consisted of members of the EC and a number of representatives from our clubs. You will be aware that the outcome of those discussions was that the League should be reduced by 20 teams and that the remaining 60 teams should be reformed into a free-flowing format. The agreed format was that, in the first season, the Premier and 2nd Divisions would consist of 1st X1s and that Divisions 3 & 4 would consist of the 1st and 2nd X1s. Regionalisation would take place below Division 4, with Divisions 5 East and 5 West being formed of the remaining 1st and 2nd X1s. The other major decision taken at this time was that from 2017 50% of league matches would be played on a limited overs win/lose basis.

This would have meant that the 20 2nd X1s not accommodated within the above format, mostly currently playing in the 2nd X1 Divisions 3 East and 3 West, would be placed in either the ESCL or the WSICL. There would also be the possibility of a club opting to go into the Mid Sussex Cricket League (MSCL). The location of these teams within the county would mean that 13 or 14 teams would need to be accommodated in the WSICL, with the remainder probably going to the ESCL.

At our Council Meeting held on 11th April 2016, a document was presented to the clubs showing where these 20 clubs could be placed in the ESCL and the WSICL. It became very clear very quickly that a number of clubs were unhappy with the possible position that their 2nd X1 might find themselves in the WSICL at the start of the 2017 season.

The EC informed that meeting that we would look again at the proposals. We went back to the ALG and after extensive discussions we are able to confirm that the teams placed in the WSICL will be in much higher divisions than previously. The attached document (pictures above), which still has Divisions of Nine, shows that no team will be lower than Division Five. There would be a maximum of 4 teams in this Division.

You will notice that Divisions Four A and Four B have been created to help achieve this outcome. Naturally, this means that, in 2018, Division Three is attainable by a lot more teams.

In September the WSICL are going to hold an EGM. The proposal before the members is to increase the size of Divisions 1-4 to ten teams. If this goes through, and the clubs moving to the WSICL will be able to vote for this proposal, then the SPCL teams moving to the WSICL will automatically benefit; there will be only one team from the SPCL in Division 5.

The positioning of teams moving to the ESCL in 2017 hasn’t changed. They will be accommodated in Divisions Four, Five and Six. The ESCL have agreed to discuss final positions with these clubs in September when final positions are known.

Whilst I appreciate that not everyone will be happy, these solutions are a considerable improvement on the previous arrangements, which I hope will allay many of the concerns expressed at the April meeting.

What do you think of the changes? Post on our Sport Sussex Facebook page or email [email protected]

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