Dr Ken Jones - Monday 2nd April 2007
As it has been revealed that this year's handbook will not be available for tomorrow evening's pre-season meeting at Sefton Park CC, I wish my President's Message to be displayed on these pages today.
My first duty as President is to welcome and thank Business Assistance (NW) Ltd and in particular their chief executive, Steve Barber, for his help and support in giving us further financial stability for the immediate future. We look forward to seeing his banners displayed at all our grounds and hope that clubs may in some small way give him a return on his investment with us.
Secondly, congratulations to those clubs who achieved success last season.
ECB Premier League winners: Bootle
First Division winners: St Helens Recs
Premier Division Knockout winners: Fleetwood Hesketh
Littlewoods Gaming Knockout Trophy winners: Bootle
Premier Division winners: Bootle
First Division winners: Highfield
Premier Division Knockout winners: Bootle
Chester Cup winners: Southport and Birkdale
Saturday Premier Division winners: Northern 3
Saturday First Division winners: Birchfield Park RL
Sunday Premier Division winners: Oxton
Sunday First Division winners: Colwyn Bay
Embee Trophy winners: Northern
There have been two major issues last season: (i) club and ground and (ii) registration.
As you are well aware both have given rise to considerable debate and a vast amount of time taken up by the Management Committee. May I respectfully point out to all clubs that the efficient management of the largest and only ECB Premier League in Lancashire demands great dedication by too few Officers.
The present system of hoping to find an experienced replacement when needed is no longer valid. There has to be an automatic contribution from all clubs to feed in manpower on a rotary basis in order to obtain league management experience. It is not right that the same willing people put their name forward time after time. Malcolm Barber and Phil Lovgreen have given well over two decades of loyal service. Who else steps forward and puts a contribution back into L&DCC?
Registration is a problem which clubs have got to sort out themselves. The rules are there to be followed with no mistakes, it is not the responsibility of the Management Committee to police this issue, it is a collective responsibility.
Club and Ground performance is being taken to task by Eric Hadfield and his committee, quite rightly. Over the years too many promises have been made and never kept. Why should clubs such as Bootle, Colwyn Bay, Liverpool, Northern, and Southport and Birkdale provide expensive County standard facilities, while other clubs who promise much but put their money on top professionals.
I do not object to club minded, legitimate, professionals being employed by clubs, but I do object to players being enticed from one club to another by financial inducements. If promotion and relegation is such a major issue then the answer is to have only a Premier and a First Division with no relegation below the First Division. This is sufficient for ECB Premier League status.
Travelling is an issue for many players, the widespread fixtures leave little time for socialising. Complexity of regulations, cost of travelling etc are items to be discussed by all clubs at meetings, not over the bar.
Finally, I obtained statistics on the amount of time that some clubs allow their professional to have over a season in comparison with the total time spent by a club's 1st X1 players in batting and bowling. A top percentage of 35% was achieved by a few clubs. This raises the question, "Is this the way to develop our young cricketers, or is this part of the promotion/relegation problem?"
Dr Ken Jones