As a newcomer to the Lancashire League, Rishton pro Daniel Salpietro does agree with some of Paul Turner’s ideas to revamp cricket in the area.
Turner has played in the Lancashire League and Ribblesdale League as well as pro-ing in Lancashire and came up with a structure to try and get interest back in local cricket last week.
He suggested, on www.lancashireleague.com, a four-divisional structure with the top two divisions from the Lancashire League and including Northern League sides such as Chorley, Preston, Leyland and Darwen.
Then the bottom two leagues would be the 2014 proposed Ribblesdale League structure with promotion and relegation between all.
Turner also suggested the season should start later – in May – and finish in late September with earlier starts to games, perhaps 12pm, with no replayed dates and fewer matches.
He also put forward plans for bowlers to have limited overs so that amateur bowlers can develop more and also called for coloured clothing to bring cricket into the modern era. It has prompted a lot of discussion around the grounds with people like Haslingden captain Graham Knowles happy with some aspects – such as limited overs, a later start to the season and earlier start to games and coloured clothing.
But he was also unhappy with others – with Knowles not really fancying trips to Preston and Leyland in their campaign.
Likewise, Australian Salpietro backs some of the ideas after sampling the Lancashire League for the first time.
"I am one of those pros who can bowl for 25 overs but I would prefer to help to develop the younger bowlers at the club and give them more responsibility," said the Rishton paid man.
"I know they say you can’t restrict a batting pro to 50 and suchlike and so restricting a bowling pro isn’t right but I think the pro should perhaps bowl 18 overs and then the amateurs be restricted to 10 overs each.
"It is all about developing the juniors and helping them step up and restrictions will push others forward.
"People say that they pay to watch the professionals but developing the juniors is important for the club and the future of the league. I don’t think it should change to a four-league structure though.
"The Lancashire League has all its history and that’s how we know it in Australia so I don’t think there should be promotion or relegation or mixing it with other leagues.
"I know it might make it more exciting towards the end of the season but I think the league should stay as it is.
"But I am definitely an advocate of limited overs. I think it needs putting out there."
Great Harwood’s secretary Stuart Maher, of the Ribblesdale League, would love to see such a structure in place – but doesn’t believe it will happen.
"I know that Paul (Turner) is acutely aware that the Lancashire League will want itself initially seen as the Premier League of cricket in the area, whether it is or not, and that’s why he has structured the leagues the way he has.
"The Ribblesdale League have already tried to do something to make cricket more exciting by introducing two leagues and promotion and relegation in two years’ time.
"I think Paul’s idea would work. It would be a little bit madcap at first but, in the next five or 10 years, I think you will see cricket clubs merging anyway and it may be three or two divisions rather than four.
"Sponsorship and advertising is harder to come by in the recession and it will be a battle for some clubs to survive.
"But is it something I would like to see? The answer is yes.
"When you look at the likes of the Liverpool League and the Central Yorkshire League – strong leagues in our area – they have four or five divisions and are always looking to recruit more clubs to continue to be competitive and keep the interest.
"But is it something that will happen here in East Lancashire? No, I can’t see it."