Cricket: Alliance supremo has no regrets

Maurice Gilliat, South Yorkshire Cricket Alliance chairman pictured. Picture: Marie Caley D5302MC
Maurice Gilliat, South Yorkshire Cricket Alliance chairman pictured. Picture: Marie Caley D5302MC

Had officials not decided to pull up the stumps two years ago the Doncaster & District Cricket League would be enjoying its centenary season this summer.

“It would have been nice had we made it to 100 years considering all the hard work that had gone into the league over the years,” said former chairman Maurice Gilliat.

“But we had lost a lot of clubs for various reasons in the previous ten years or so.”

Maurice, now chairman of the South Yorkshire Cricket Alliance, an amalgamation of the former Doncaster and Sheffield leagues, says he doesn’t regret the decision which received overwhelming support.

“All but two clubs backed the amalgamation and Denaby & Cadeby, who were only the Doncaster League to vote against it, have since folded,” he said.

“It wasn’t as though we’d not put a lot of thought into it and we’d worked closely with the Sheffield League for a couple of years before making a decision.

“I think that players from both leagues have enjoyed the challenge of visiting new grounds and facing new teams and coming up against batsmen and bowlers they weren’t familiar with.”

The Alliance has not been without its teething problems, however.

“A lot of the Sheffield clubs who used to be based on Bawtry Road have lost their grounds as a result of the Hallam University, who owned the site, wanting to use it,” said Maurice.

“Wickersley thirds are playing their home games at Finningley when their home pitch isn’t available on a Sunday, and Tinsley are having to play their home games at Hatfield Main, which is a bit of a bind for them.”

Despite hopes that the amalgamation would help stem losses, Maurice admits: “Darfield, Kilnhurst and Telecom are all moving to different leagues next season, which is disappointing.

“On the plus side, Adwick-le-Street are talking about starting up their second team again next season and we are always looking to recruit new teams.”