A sticking point with most players is they want is earlier start times and Sussex League secretary Terry Burstow believes it may need some thinking outside of the box to resolve.
He said: “We are wanting to achieve this and if we use some radical thinking I am sure we can. For example, if four clubs are against it because of Saturday morning use of their ground then why not let the other 38 clubs change and leave the four dissenters at the present start time. It would be a shame not to deliver something that is wanted by the majority.
“This season will undoubtedly have an extra edge particularly in 1st XI Division Three and 2nd XI Division One, where being in the top-five will be a target.”
The league’s restructure will require more umpires. Burstow, who is also chairman of the Sussex Association of Cricket Officials said: “In the past seasons we have operated with a panel of 65 active umpires covering 45 appointments each week. From 2017 it is our aim to cover 60 weekly appointments across the six divisions of the 60 team SPCL.
“This will mean that a panel of at least 80 active umpires will be needed. If this is not achieved the only alternative is to allow the home teams in Divisions Five East and Five West to provide their own umpire in the same way that teams in the 2nd XI Division One do at present. This would reduce the requirement to 50 appointments each week. It is the 60 option though, which is to be the focus.”
Martin Bodenham, who has now rejoined the Panel of Umpires after seven successful seasons on the First Class Panel is now president of the SACO. He said: “I am going to lead the effort to recruit more umpires and also, perhaps more importantly, bring into the fold some of the umpires who are not on any League Panel or are not members of SACO.”
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