We know concessions are a concern to many clubs, not least to those clubs which are working hard to put teams out so that their fixtures are fulfilled, but there is an equal concern on the part of clubs which have matches conceded to them and are left struggling to find a game for their teams to play. This is likely to lead to players in those teams feeling disenchanted with league cricket and contributes to a vicious circle of decreasing availability. On one recent Saturday concessions meant that in one division only a single game out of the scheduled five took place.
The Committee is aware that some clubs find it hard to raise sides in the first few weeks of the season, but the data on concessions suggests that May is not necessarily the most challenging month for clubs; in 2018 the number of matches conceded in August was nearly twice as high as May’s tally.
The league’s policy in recent seasons has been to give clubs as much of a chance as possible to grow their availability sufficiently to meet their league commitments. We think this may have given clubs struggling to raise teams too much latitude, as well as leading to clubs being finally taken out of their divisions so late in the season that the placings of remaining clubs in the division could change just before, or even after, the season ends. The relevant playing condition 11(c) gives the Committee power to require the withdrawal of teams which concede five matches in a season, but with discretion to modify this sanction (ie allow a greater number of concessions before a withdrawal is enforced).
The Committee has decided to adopt the following approach going forward. As soon as a team concedes a 4th game, we will contact them to advise that, if they concede again, in the absence of a very good reason for leniency, the team will be withdrawn from their league for the rest of the season. The effect of this approach is not to remove the Committee’s scope for discretion but to make it less likely that a level of concessions above 5 will be allowed. Any team which is allowed to exceed the threshold of five will be closely monitored to check that the commitment to put out the relevant side is honoured.
Outside of this process, Cobham Avorians reluctantly determined they would need to withdraw their 3rd XI for 2019 with immediate effect. The league fixtures and tables will be updated to reflect this.