Top cricket league in danger of meltdown as officials quit

CRICKET CRISIS -- Notts Premier League action at Papplewick and Linby last summer
CRICKET CRISIS -- Notts Premier League action at Papplewick and Linby last summer

Cricket’s leading league in Nottinghamshire is in danger of meltdown after all bar one of its officials resigned.

The crisis came to a head at the annual general meeting of the Notts Premier League (NPL), in which Dispatch district sides, Rolls-Royce Leisure and Papplewick and Linby played last season.

Eightout of nine previously elected officials announced that they were not willing to stand for a further term of office in 2014.

As a result, it was only possible to fill four of the 12 places on the league’s management committee.

The decisions to quit revolve around a recent disciplinary hearing into irregularities at one of the league’s member clubs, Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

Hosiery Mills were thrown out of the league after evidennce came to light that they had illegally paid one of their players.

However, they were reinstated when an independent panel backed their appeal on a technicality.

The decision infuriated other clubs in the league. Now league officials, including chairman Peter Johnson, feel they cannot carry on while Hosiery Mills remain in situ.

Former fast bowler Johnson thanked the officers standing down for their efforts on behalf of the NPL and the support that they had given him over many years.

Said Johnson: “With only four named officers having been elected, control of the Notts Premier League will now pass temporarily to the Nottinghamshire Cricket Board.

“The Board will act on an interim basis until an extraordinary general meeting is convened in the New Year, at which further league officials will be elected.”

Johnson, a key figure in the formation of the league in 1999 and chairman for nine years, added: “I encourage member clubs to actively engage with the Board in seeking a resolution to the problems and to assist in identifying and naming people they wish to administer the league going forward.”

Board chairman Tony Palfreman said “It is most unfortunate that there is a reluctance by individuals to continue to offer their volunteer services to the management committee of the NPL.

“Our intent is to provide strategic leadership until the league can re-establish itself as the peak of the recreational cricket pyramid in the county”.

If the crisis isn’t resolved, there is talk of clubs forming a breakaway league, which could include Papplewick, who were relegated last term.

A breakaway might not, however, include Rolls, who could be tempted to apply to switch to the Derbyshire Premier League.