Junior cricket near ‘point of no return’

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The Halifax Junior League is planning a summit of coaches in an effort to halt an alarming decline in the number of youngsters playing cricket.

Phil Sharples, who is on the Halifax League’s executive, said he hoped it would take place at the Shay Stadium early next month.

Sharples told club representatives at last night’s league meeting that eight junior teams had dropped out of the league due to a lack of players since the start of the season.

A reshaped junior section committee, headed by new chairman Andy Gardner, was keen to address the problem head on by consulting the club members closest to the teams.

Officials had a 13-point action plan, drawn up after consultation with the YCB’s West Yorkshire Cricket Development manager Steve Archer, which they wished to present.

Sharples painted a worrying picture of junior cricket in the area.

“There has been a massive drop off (in the number of junior players), 30 per cent in last five years,” he said.

“There is a real danger that junior cricket in the area is getting to the point of no return.”

He said it was necessary to “get to the grass roots” to tackle the problem.

Meanwhile, dates and venues for the Collinson Cup junior finals have been announced.

The under 11s and 13s games will be at Thornton on Sunday, August 28. The under 15s and 17s games are at Luddenden Foot the following day, which is the Bank Holiday Monday.

The Halifax League’s Area Knockout Cup semi-final away to the Aire/Wharfe League is scheduled for July 31 at a venue to be announced.

The annual player survey will be conducted by the Halifax League on the weekend of July 16/17. The tea break during games will be extended by 15 minutes to encourage players to complete the on-line survey.

The Halifax League has been saddened by the news that Booth CC’s Oliver Collinge lost his battle with cancer this week, aged 28.