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Cricket - Towergate Halifax League: Stainland face uncertain future

STAINLAND chairman Brian Evans has issued a "back us or lose us" appeal to former players, the local community and league bosses.

The bottom section club, one of the oldest in the area and founder members of the Halifax League, are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year.

But Evans paints a bleak picture of Stainland's future saying: "If we last another couple of years I'd be surprised."

While the league continues to expand and is flourishing at the top and at junior level, things appear to be very different at the bottom.

Halifax CC have already gone to the wall this season and one league official suggested that the dispersal of their remaining players to other struggling clubs was only papering over the cracks.

Evans believes Stainland could soon be on the point of no return saying: "We are struggling as a club. Most of our players are well into their 40s and we are finding it difficult to put out two teams every week."

The 65-year-old Evans and 62-year-old Peter Harrison recently made up to the numbers for Stainland, who played in the top flight as recently as 2003. President Leonard Norcliffe, who is in his 70s, turned out last season.

Stainland's cramped pavilion, which they share with the bowlers, hasn't a bar and means finances are tight.

"It's hard work running a club on 1,000 a year and it is a good job a few people chip in," said Evans, who looks after the Calderdale Council-owned ground with assistance from Harrison and Roy Spencer.

Stainland's precarious finances were dealt a further blow when they, along with other clubs, were fined for not turning out a full side in the first round of the Crossley Shield recently.

Evans said: "It's stupid fining us. The league ought to try to help us."

The chairman also said the league's expansion policy, coupled with seemingly less committed modern players, was also causing problems.

"We are playing Wibsey Park Chapel at Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday and two of the first team say they are not prepared to go because they have to go out at 7.30," he said.

Evans added that Stainland had made an effort to address the problem of having no new players coming through.

"We tried two years ago to start an under 15s team. We sent people on coaching courses and hired nets at Brooksbank School. Twelve lads came the first week, eight the second and only the three on the third week.

"We have also tried to work with the local schools, Bowling Green and Holywell Green"

Evans said the club also had to contend with an unruly element in the village. "There are some anti-social people who don't want to play cricket and don't want anyone else to play either," he said.

At least Stainland's first team, under Ryan Severn, have got one win under their belts this season, coming out on top in their first game after seemingly being on the ropes against Denholme Clough.

That showed there is some spirit in the club, but Stainland desperate need some help if they are to reach the next landmark year in the club's history.

Evans can be contacted on 07766 862960. “There are some anti-social people who don’t want to play cricket and don’t want anyone else to play either,” he said.

At least Stainland’s first team, under Ryan Severn, have got one win under their belts this season, coming out on top in their first game after seemingly being on the ropes against Denholme Clough.

That showed there is some spirit in the club, but Stainland desperate need some help if they are to reach the next landmark year in the club’s history.

Evans can be contacted on 07766 862960.

 
 
 

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