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2017 Cup matches delayed to 2018
Wednesday 6th September 2017

Following Bootle and Ormskirk's justifiable rejection of the Management Committee's ill conceived suggestion of playing their Ray Digman Knockout Trophy semi final as an 20 over match in the gathering gloom of an August/September evening, together with the second suggestion of it being played on Saturday 23rd September with the final against Northern being the following day, it has now been decreed that the matches be played at the beginning of the 2018 season.

The delay in the playing of the semi final wasn't helped by the fact that there was a ten weeks delay between Ormskirk's first round match against Burscough and the second round match against Sefton Park who then conceded a few hours before the match.

This once again illustrates the Management Committee's total inability to organise anything. In this case, a simple knockout competition.

They change rules as they go along. They've been changed twice this week without any consultation with the thirty-six clubs.

In April, there is every chance of rain preventing play. In 2017, all of the cup matches scheduled for the first Saturday of the season were postponed because of rain and in 2016, thirteen of the scheduled eighteen matches were postponed.

What will be the qualification be for these matches? What if a player retires over the winter, moves clubs or an injury over the winter prevents him playing. What if a team signs a lot of players and is stronger next year? Teams are always weaker at the start of the season owing to some players being involved in football, rugby etc.

As far as cricket is concerned, there is NOTHING to prevent these matches being played on 23rd and 24th September.

A precedent exists for playing a cup match after the recognised season has finished. In 1993, the league season ended on Saturday 11th September and the Wallasey v Bootle final in the Weightman Rutherford Trophy was on the following day. Rain stopped play and the replay was on the following Sunday, 19th September. On that occasion, the teams were told when the replay would be.

Ormskirk's ECB Premier League match against Leigh on Saturday 16th September has been cancelled to enable them to travel to Chelmsford for the Royal London Club Championship final against Wanstead and Snaresbrook on the following day. Why can't they play Leigh on 23rd September? There's a beer festival at Brook Lane on that day but one didn't stop Wallasey playing New Brighton at the Oval on August Bank Holiday Monday and that is a much smaller ground.

It's a pity the Management Committee wasn't as obliging towards Southport and Birkdale when they were trying to rearrange a 3rd XI match earlier in the season instead of fining them and suspending a member for speaking his mind.