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Mystery of the BL vote


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ReverseSweep
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« on: February 03, 2017, 02:59:51 pm »


So last week's secret-ballot vote by the 48 Birmingham League clubs resulted in a 25-23 decision to maintain four divisions and not cut the league in half at the end of next year's season. Surprised by the narrow majority? Surely the turkeys wouldn't vote for Xmas and send themselves back to their feeder leagues, meekly surrendering their hard-won statuses?

But, in one of the greatest cricket mysteries of our time, some of them did. Clubs in the middle sections that stand on the cliff edge of what has become some kind of cricketing civil war. In previous votes some months back, clubs in both the two bottom divisions rejected a move to cut the fourth tier only, unanimously by the clubs in it, but undeterred the management subsequently took their plan to axe both lower sections to the entire membership. You'd have thought the proposal would have no chance, yet it almost won the day.

So what aren't we being told? The top clubs who surely provided most of the losing votes must have either hoped to pinch the better players from the dissolved sections, or believe they will enjoy ongoing autonomy because future feeder champions will find the gap in standard too great and drop back straight away. Or are there other reasons?

The articles I've read suggest the issue is still not settled and is likely to resurface again. One might take the Brexit line and say that's it, the people have spoken. But as it's the establishment that wants the cut, and following such a close vote, Shropshire and the other feeders might yet get back a lot of its own. Whether that's a good thing depends on your viewpoint.

The whole business is starting to resemble The Mousetrap in its longevity, and yet intriguingly there has never been one syllable regarding this hot and controversial topic on the BL website. It's widely known and accepted that the ECB exerted pressure on the BL to cut its numbers, and that the BL management believe the best players should be playing for the best clubs .... which will never happen as the mercenary will opt for the biggest purse. Whatever, it seems the BL management are too embarrassed to self-publicise their ongoing attempts to slash their own league numbers.

It's interesting to speculate on just how the seven Shropshire clubs voted. The Oswestry chairman is on record in opposing it, and it's unimaginable that newly-promoted Sentinel aren't against it either. Likewise Newport, who possess arguably the best player in the entire BL in Rajat Bhatia, have surely made a further statement of intent in signing Maz Hasnain from relegated Whitchurch.

So what about the other four, who are all in the top two sections? How and for what reasons did Shrewsbury and Wellington vote, Griggsy and Coach? Anyone out there with details for Bridgnorth and Shifnal?

Amid all the controversy, one pertinent point seems to have gone unheeded .... in these days of falling player participation, wouldn't it make sense to scrap the entire 2nd XI section? Most 2nds' players on my radar would much prefer to play in their local county leagues than traipse all over the Midlands.

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Griggsy
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2017, 03:48:55 pm »

Interesting read, agree with some points and not others.

I heard a rumour Reman voted for the proposal - I am assuming on the premise that actually they don't really want to travel miles and miles and would much prefer a strong competitive Shropshire system which they would be part of? I maybe wrong...im only assuming.

We also voted for the proposal - without going into the real nitty gritty of the internal conversations, and I will caveat this with...this is a summary in my own words/take on it and not necessarily the proper full blown club stance. It was felt that a stronger feeder system was good for "cricket", with higher player participation if you don't have to travel excessive distances, thus increasing the quality of those feeder systems, and likewise making the BL a higher quality and condense those with genuine aspirations to play as high a level as possible and make the BL a higher standard. If we as a club did fall back down the pyramid we would come back to a high quality SCCL. Whether or not this would be true regarding players and "mercenaries" I have no idea, money does talk but some of those lads want to make it in the game, so $$$ in a feeder or play in BL for nothing/less but possibly push a case for minor counties or more? But it was the general consensus around our captains/senior guys, so that's how we voted - if you believe me or not, not once in the conversations on whatsapp did I see comments about hoovering up players or becoming an elite breakaway unlikely to fall back in the SCCL - the general jist was about player participation and about standards of play and how could these be improved.

I also totally agree with the 2nd XIs point - I know pretty much all our 2nd XI lads would love to not travel as far if they didn't sacrifice competitive cricket.
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Meadow End
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2017, 06:31:55 pm »

Interesting posts !
There is definitely pressure from ECB to reduce the number of divisions in BDPCL and indeed other Premier Leagues nationwide and in line with this there has been a lot of conversation between the leagues management and the member clubs. There is a rumour that the decision will be taken out of the Premier League's hands by the ECB by 2020 anyway. The close vote was replicated at our committee meeting with the challenge of the cricket just edging the desire to travel less for a game. The motives for the change are as good as the original reasons for expansion of an ailing Birmingham League to create a tier below the first class game that gave shop window to talent by putting all the quality in one place. The development of Minor Counties cricket at the time the BDPCL opened up saw an upturn in standards that is now also being reversed due to the commitment required for the three day game. Shropshire's selectors spend a long time trying to find available players that are rarely their first choice players. It's no wonder they turn to "outsiders" ?
Mercenaries will always disrupt any elite programme as clubs shell out obscene amounts to "progress their ambitions" Money that can be better spent developing facilities and juniors ? It will happen again this year.
We are as a club happy to play in the BDPCL but would equally have no qualms playing back in the county if that's where it all takes us. As to the others in the set up we don't know who voted how (it was a secret ballot) but as you suggest turkeys don't vote for Xmas !
Looking forward to a great summer and wishing all sides well !
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Forth-Tyne-Dogger
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2017, 09:31:28 pm »

It's no longer on the back-burner, apparently....

http://www.birminghamleague.org/article/statement-on-the-future-of-league-cricket-in-the-west-midlands_24110

What a lot of management-speak (ungrammatical) guff.

"Collect stats and figures to evidence the why" ("The Why?...")

"Articulate the downturn in the worth of the Birmingham League brand."

"Ensure it will be an engaging process"

Zzzzzzzzzzz
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ReverseSweep
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« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2017, 09:16:05 pm »

Blimey they didn't leave that up for long, it's not on their site tonight!

First time the BL have said anything publicly on the subject and it's taken down three days later. Just over three months since the narrow vote was taken, the ECB have been shoved right into leading a fresh assault.

Quite agree it's a zzzzzzzz read but the message is clear and the days of four divisions are clearly numbered.

Good responses on here to my original post. Just a question now of how many clubs we're going to get back in two or three years' time.

It's all such a shame though, I can't see any decent reason why the field of dreams is going to be sliced in half.
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ReverseSweep
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 08:39:52 am »

So it's unofficially official then, but on the quiet as usual, as once again the persistent rumours spread. The Birmingham League will cut two divisions as they pressure clubs on this issue. It's just a question of when, and it could be as soon as the end of next season and certainly no longer than the finish of 2020.

Nothing as usual on the website, just that brief posting almost three months ago, but I hear the wheels-within-wheels are turning ever-faster and that there is bound to be a lot of blood on the tracks quite soon.

Whose hand on the tiller, ECB or BL? Will the clubs vote this through? Looks as though they probably will, given the postings on this thread.
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PowerPlay
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 08:47:52 pm »

The ECB is driving force and they've upped the ante very significantly by telling the Birmingham League that at the end of the 2019 season they must cut their membership to two divisions with just ten clubs in each.

If the clubs vote that down, the ECB will then withdraw all funding and its ECB status.

So 28 clubs could well be going back to their feeder leagues. Unsettlingly for those that want to remain, it won't necessarily be the top 20 clubs in 2019 that survive. I understand that those clubs wishing to stay will have to make some kind of application process and membership will be decided on ground criteria etc.

There's going to be some league points awarded for T20 matches, with the 20 clubs split into five groups of four (geographical?) and playing semis and finals. It's all linked to the massive rebranding of the first-class city franchise for 2020.

Lots of devil in the details, most of which are still undecided. But the 2nd XIs will remain.
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LEGGIEMAN
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2017, 10:35:02 pm »

I hear it's at end of 2018 the BL is going to 24 and a big announcement will be made soon. But the t20 thing is definitely on the table .  Question is what is the point in any team going up this year when they know it will only be for 1 year even if they win D3 next season
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PowerPlay
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 12:35:35 pm »

Yes I'm hearing this as well, more cloak'n'dagger or smoke'n'mirrors from the BL world. When & how are shrouded in mystery, but the one certain thing is half the clubs are getting the boot unless they vote the ECB down, so mutiny may be an incentive for the feeder champions to go up.
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