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CRICKET: Chaos as Herts clubs vote to quit
THE Serious Cricket Home Counties Premier League (HCPL) has been plunged into chaos after Saracens Hertfordshire League clubs carried out their threat to stage a breakaway.
A meeting of the leading 25 Herts League clubs voted 19-5 on Monday in favour of a proposal to form a Hertfordshire Premier Cricket League – gaining the 75 per cent majority needed to pass the motion.
The league is due to start in 2015, giving those clubs in the HCPL time to resign by June 30, 2014, in accordance with its constitution.
However, their decision has triggered a HCPL extraordinary general meeting on November 13 to vote on the committee’s proposal to kick out the Hertfordshire-based clubs for next season.
For this motion to be carried, a two-thirds majority would be needed.
But, with 13 of the 30 clubs in the HCPL, the Hertfordshire League, who will meet on November 11 to decide their next move, appear to have control of their own destiny.
The Herts clubs due to play in HCPL Division 1 next season are Harpenden, North Mymms and Radlett, with the latter revealing they had voted in favour of forming a Hertfordshire Premier League.
Officials from Oxfordshire clubs have reacted with a mixture of disappointment and bemusement at the chain of events.
Oxford won promotion to the top flight for next season.
And chairman Joe Porter said: “I know the boys worked very hard to get back up and earn their spot in that league, and if the Home Counties asked the Herts clubs to move out earlier than later, it is a shame because we want to play top cricket.”
Banbury chairman Martin Phillips added: “This is not for the good of the standard of club cricket at the top level. We think it will lower the standard of the new Herts set-up and the Home Counties.”
Aston Rowant could conceivably be promoted to Division 1 should the Herts clubs be expelled.
But chairman Gary Condon commented: “I think it is a big shame losing the Hertfordshire clubs as they improve the Premier League standard.”
Should HCPL chiefs get their way and boot out the Herts sides for next season, they may well turn to the Cherwell and Thames Valley Leagues for clubs to make up the shortfall in the numbers.
Shipton-under-Wychwood, the 2013 runners-up,would be next in line from the Cherwell.
But Cherwell chairman Clive Ricks has already told the HCPL they would not sanction any club other than champions Horspath going up for 2014.
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