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Two teams drop out of Veterans League

Veterans League

The unofficial website of the Veterans League bringing the news and inside stories that you will never see on the Veterans League website.

With just a few days to go before the deadline for new teams to apply for membership of the Veterans League for the 2023 season, two clubs have already announced notice of team withdrawals.

Elland C&BC have withdrawn their B team from Division 4 of the 10-Man League where they finished mid-table last year. In addition Division 1 runners-up Honley Con have withdrawn from the 6-Man League which is a big loss. It seems that the 50% rule finally got the better of them as they have struggled all season to balance appearance numbers.

Most of the Honley Con team play for Lowerhouses in the 10-Man League and that team's success in gaining promotion to Division 2 brought them in range of the 50% rule. That has been emphasised once again as the Lowerhouses team gained a second consecutive promotion last season and will play in Division 1 in 2023. That introduced conflict between loyalties between playing for Lowerhouses and Honley Cons as it proved impossible to field their two strongest teams every week under the present rules.

Having gained a second consecutive promotion that makes things even more demanding and the club have decided to step down after just two seasons in the League. They won the Division 2 title in 2021 and continued that form into last season when they finished 8 points behind the Champions Shepley 'A'.

Next year Honley Con will be playing in the Heavy Woollen Afternoon League which plays its fixtures on Monday afternoons so fitting in with past logistics for the Honley team. It is clear that the tinkering with the 50% rule decided at the Half-Year meeting in October didn't go far enough to make it viable for the Honley team so they have decided to move on.

They weren't the only team to fall foul of the 50% rule last season as Slaithwaite were unable to field a full team of 6 bowlers for any of their last 7 fixtures in fact they never had more than 4 eligible bowlers for any of those fixtures. The reorganisation of the Divisions is likely to see Slaithwaite relegated to 10-Man League Division 3 where the 50% rule does not apply so this may ease their situation.

It seems inevitable that a major shake-up is on the cards with last season's unrest of the imbalance in team numbers by division in the 10-Man League needing to be addressed. The need for a reorganisation of the League structure is clearly overdue and should have been addressed before it got to the stage of losing teams but it seems that people had taken their eyes off the ball and were distracted during the COVID seasons.

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