This weekend will see the final action in the 2023 Westmorland Cricket League (WCL) season.
It has been another busy season for our local cricket clubs across the league’s five divisions.
Here is a quick look at the standings in the WCL with only days remaining of the 2023 season, with the Division 3 title still to be determined.
Heysham’s 1st XI won the championship in Division One last Saturday (September 2) with one game left to play, after their convincing win away against Sedgwick’s 1st XI.
It was the first time the club has won the Division One title since 1961.
The second placed team in Division One will be decided this Saturday (September 9) and it could be any of Shireshead & Forton’s 1st XI, Sedgwick’s 1st XI and Burneside’s 1st XI.
It has been a four-way battle at the top of Division One all summer but Heysham have been in top spot most of the season.
The final game of the season for Heysham’s firsts is an away day to potential second placed team Shireshead & Forton’s 1st XI this Saturday.
Kirkby Lonsdale’s 1st XI and Holme’s 1st XI will both end the season as the bottom two teams in Division One and will therefore play in Division Two next year.
In the 2023 Division One Hackney & Leigh Cup, it was no surprise that the top four teams in Division One all made it through to finals day at Netherfield Cricket Club in Kendal, with eventual winners Burneside’s 1st XI winning the cup for the second year running.
Silverdale will play back in Division One next season after winning the Division Two championship.
Silverdale were relegated from the top division back in 2021. Despite a good effort in 2022, the XI only made fourth place in the division.
Shireshead & Forton’s 2nd XI will take second place this year after pushing champions Silverdale all season.
Shireshead’s 2nd XI can’t be promoted to Division One if the 1st XI remain in the top division next year.
Sedbergh School’s 2nd XI finish rock bottom of the division and Morecambe’s 3rd XI will finish second from bottom.
Shireshead & Forton’s 2nd XI were the winners of the 2023 British Rose Division Two cup on finals day at Netherfield Cricket Club after beating Milnthorpe’s 1st XI in the semi final, then Netherfield’s 3rd XI in the final.
Ingleton’s 1st XI will move to Division Two next season after securing promotion last Saturday with a home win against Bolton Le Sands’ 1st XI.
The championship will also be theirs if the North Yorkshire club beat Windermere’s 1st XI away on the final day of the season this Saturday. Burneside’s 2nd XI could also be champions if the Cumbrian side beat Trimpell’s 1st XI and Ingleton lose.
Windermere’s 1st XI, who currently sit fourth in the table, have the chance to finish in second place and could also be promoted.
Also in contention for second place are Burneside’s 2nd XI, Trimpell’s 1st XI and Leven Valley’s 1st XI.
All teams involved will have to wait until all games are played this weekend for both first & second place to be determined.
The WCL committee have however indicated that the top three teams in Division Three may be promoted this year, but that may not be decided until the league’s final 2024 season divisional plans are announced early next year.
At the bottom of the division, Bare’s 2nd XI will finish bottom of the division in 12th place and are set to drop into Division Four next year.
Silverdale’s 2nd XI, Holme’s 2nd XI, Bolton Le Sands’ 1st XI & Arnside’s 2nd XI are all in the mix to finish in 11th place.
Ingleton’s firsts also lifted the 2023 Kendal Trophies Division Three cup on finals day, held at Heysham Cricket Club, after beating Carnforth’s 3rd XI in the semi final then Burneside’s 2nd XI in the final.
Division Four is divided into two sections: a north division and south division.
Most cricket clubs who field a team in this division generally use it as a development league to let young players experience cricket at a senior competitive level.
All games have now concluded in Division Four. The champions this year of the North division were Ulverston’s 3rd XI, and the champions of the South division were Morecambe’s 4th XI.
The final game in Division Four was a play off game between the north and south champions which was contested last Sunday (September 3) in Ulverston. Morecambe’s 4ths finished 161 for 9 and Ulverston’s reply was 128 all out. It was a double for Morecambe’s 4th XI, who also won the Division Four Moon & Coxhill cup final for the second year running on finals day at Westgate cricket club on August 6.
The WCL 2024 season structure will be announced early next year but this will probably be the last year the league will exist in its current form.
Behind the scenes, talks are taking place that will restructure the local game as we currently know it.
It was officially announced in a joint statement last week from the Cumbrian Cricket league, the Eden Valley League and the WCL that there was now an agreement in principal to move forward with a new Cumbrian pyramid league structure to raise the standard of cricket going forward, with possible implementation in the 2025 cricket season.
The statement said that this could also mean possible regionalisation and autonomy for the Eden Valley & Westmorland leagues.
The final standings in the respective leagues in the 2024 season will dictate the new league structure.
This will only affect the Cumbrian teams in the WCL.
For the Lancashire based teams in the WCL, talks have taken place between the WCL, the Palace Shield League and the Northern Premier League about a similar pyramid system across those leagues.
No final agreement in principal has been announced as yet.
Beyond Radio reported about the initial talks about a new cricket pyramid last month.
Against a backdrop of many local cricket leagues around the United Kingdom struggling to stay afloat for all manner of reasons, from lack of new blood entering the game or the lack of money, the WCL bucked the trend this year, fielding more teams this summer than they did in the 2022 season.
Fifty two different teams from 26 local cricket Clubs from across North Lancashire, Cumbria and North Yorkshire have taken part in the WCL this season, including five newcomers: Morecambe’s 2nd XI, Appleby Eden’s 3rd XI, Burneside’s 3rd XI, Heysham’s 3rd XI and Shireshead & Forton’s 4th XI.
The increase in team participation was a great achievement in itself for the league, along with the fact that the last three Division One champions, Carnforth’s 1st XI in 2021, Westgate’s 1st XI in 2022 and Heysham’s 1st XI in 2023 took the option to play their cricket at a higher level in the Moore & Smalley Palace Shield League.
The final games in the WCL this weekend are as follows:
Saturday 9th September:
Arnside CC 1st XI v Sedgwick CC 1st XI, Memorial Playing Field, Arnside 1.30pm
Bare CC 1st XI v Morecambe CC 2nd XI, Cross Hill Park, Lancaster 1pm
Burneside CC 1st XI v Kendal CC 2nd XI, Ellegreen Park, Burneside 1.30pm
Holme CC 1st XI v Kirkby Lonsdale CC 1st XI, North Road, Holme 1pm
Shireshead & Forton CC 1st XI v Heysham CC 1st XI v, Clifton Park, Forton 1pm
Warton CC 1st XI v Carnforth CC 2nd XI, The Hyning Ground, Warton 1pm
Saturday 9th September:
Coniston CC 1st XI v Ambleside CC 1st XI, Yewdale Road, Coniston 1.30pm
Netherfield CC 3rd XI v Cartmel CC 1st XI, Parkside Road, Kendal 1pm
Sedgwick CC 2nd XI v Morecambe CC 3rd XI, Sedgwick House, Sedgwick 1.30pm
Silverdale CC 1st XI v Milnthorpe CC 1st XI, Cove Road, Silverdale 1pm
Westgate CC 2nd XI v Shireshead & Forton CC 2nd XI, Cross Hill Park, Lancaster 1pm
Saturday 9th September:
Bolton Le Sands CC 1st XI v Arnside CC 1st XI, Main Road, Bolton Le Sands 1.30pm
Galgate CC 1st XI v Holme CC 2nd XI, The Recreation Field, Galgate 1pm
Leven Valley CC 1st XI v Silverdale CC 2nd XI, Playing Fields, Haverthwaite 1pm
Trimpell CC 1st XI v Burneside CC 2nd XI, Trimpell Sports & Social Club, Morecambe 1pm
Windermere CC 1st XI v Ingleton CC 1st XI, Queens Park, Windermere 1pm
Sunday 10th September:
Carnforth CC 3rd XI v Bare CC 2nd XI, Lodge