THE Accrington and District Cricket League has broken with over 100 years of tradition and appointed its first female official.
Susan Astbury, of Clayton Youth Club, was appointed as the league's new secretary at the AGM at the Great Eastern.
The league faced an uncertain future when league officials called a meeting, painted a bleak future for the league and announced that they were resigning en block. The officials suggested that the league should be disbanded but the remaining clubs had other ideas. A meeting was held to formulate an action plan and new officials were elected to stand at the AGM.
ADCL Historian Nigel Stockley explained: "The league has been in serious decline over the past five seasons. From a healthy 22 teams in 1994, the league finished last season with just eight teams, three of which resigned. Cricket at grassroots level has suffered in this area with long established leagues such as the North East Lancs League and the Burnley League folding in the last 12 months.
"Unlike Lancashire League sides, teams at this level only have a limited lifespan. Whereas the Lancashire League has only had 15 teams since 1891, the ADCL has had over 200 in the same period of time. The league had a great period of stability in the 1980's with very few teams leaving but many wanting to join.
"There are several reasons for the league's decline, but I believe the major factor is the poor weather that has hit the summer sport of cricket. The last decent summer we had was back in 1995 and this has badly affected the casual cricketer. To a certain degree the league reflects society.
"When it was formed in 1891, it consisted of Sunday School sides and works teams. More recently it has attracted pub teams but let's face it, who wants to play cricket in the weather we have endured recently?"
The ADCL also has a new chairman with Abrar Shah of Attock taking over the post and Alven Burrows of Accrington A taking on the role of treasurer. Ian Spence is the new Results Secretary.
The league's Formation Meeting will be held at Accrington Cricket Club on Thursday March 20th at 8pm. Any new teams wishing to join the league should contact Susan Astbury (01254 301815) or Nigel Stockley (01254 392923) or turn up at the Formation Meeting.