Big rush to join the expanded Alliance

Phil Banyard More than 40 clubs have applied to become part of the proposed new-look Norfolk Alliance.The Lovewell Blake Norfolk Alliance recently sent letters to all clubs from the feeder leagues - the Lucas Fettes Norfolk League and the NCC West Norfolk League - inviting applications to join an extended Alliance.

Phil Banyard

More than 40 clubs have applied to become part of the proposed new-look Norfolk Alliance.

The Lovewell Blake Norfolk Alliance recently sent letters to all clubs from the feeder leagues - the Lucas Fettes Norfolk League and the NCC West Norfolk League - inviting applications to join an extended Alliance.

There are currently four Alliance divisions, but the league - which has entry requirements regarding facilities - is planning to expand, claiming some feeder league clubs are not doing enough to improve their grounds.

The Norfolk Cricket Board (NCB) recently gave its blessing to the plans, on the proviso that only one new 10-team division is created next season.

But as the deadline for applications passed yesterday, four times that amount of teams had applied to become part of the new structure. Alliance chairman John Tythcott said: "I am surprised at some of the applications we have had to join the Alliance. There will be a meeting of our management committee on August 6 and we will take a significant step forward then with regards to the number of extra divisions and which teams will be in them.

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"With in excess of 40 applications, it is almost certain that there will be more than one division."

Richard Green, chairman of the NCB's recreational sub-committee, said he planned to call a meeting involving representatives from the Alliance, the Norfolk League and the West Norfolk League to further discuss the matter.

"Having more than one division starts to have a significant impact on the feeder structure below," he said. "Norfolk has to have a viable feeder league structure below the Alliance and we have to think about what impact this would have on that. You could not end up with a West Norfolk League with two or three divisions because it is not viable.

"Playing strength is also a key part of the selection process. For example, if a team is applying from Division Eight of the Norfolk League, how can you push them up to the Alliance?"

Stow have been deducted 22 points for failing to pay their league subscription before the season started. The Lovewell Blake Norfolk Alliance Division One side have been stripped of the points gained in their opening day win at Bradfield.