LITTLE Lever’s title-winning captain Jon Kerrigan has called on the Bolton League to re-think its decision not to let Lancashire bowler Oliver Newby register for Westhoughton as an amateur.
The experienced batsman welcomed the move from last season’s runners-up to recruit the seam bowler, believing it would help increase standards throughout the league.
Kerrigan cited precedents in county/club link-ups in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, as an example for the Bolton League to follow.
“I definitely think the Bolton League needs to re-think its decision,” he said.
“I know Yorkshire players are encouraged to attach themselves to a club and I know the local leagues are only too happy for them to do that.
“It makes perfect sense and I think leagues in Derbyshire also have similar links with the county.
“When these players have not got a game they should be playing for a team, and I think the Bolton League should be honoured to give them a home.
“Frankly it makes a mockery of what we are doing by turning someone of Oliver Newby’s standard away.
“I think he would be a great advert for our league and the decision not to allow him to play is crazy.”
The Bolton League turned down Westhoughton’s application on appeal, citing rule 13a in the league’s constitution, which prohibits teams from registering players who are already registered in another league.
A statement from the Bolton League said they also took into consideration the Lancashire Cricket Board’s qualification rules for the Lancashire Cup and the ECB qualification rules for national competitions, which in both cases would make Newby ineligible.
Meanwhile, neither Lancashire County Cricket Club nor the Lancashire Cricket Board would have any reservations about Newby playing for Westhoughton.
While not commenting specifically on the Newby case, both say they are comfortable with a professional county player playing for a club side.
A spokesman for Lancashire CC, said most of its players had links with local clubs and regularly played recreational cricket.
“Most of our professional players will associate themselves with a league club so they have the option of playing a game of cricket at the weekend should it suit their circumstances,” he said.
“LCCC does not influence where a particular player chooses to play recreational cricket. However, it is preferable that the facilities and level of cricket are of a good standard.
“The player will need to obtain our permission each weekend to play league cricket and where applicable we will put restrictions on workloads for bowlers.”
A spokesman for the LCB, the governing body for the sport in Lancashire, said they had no rule stopping professional county players playing as amateurs for club sides.
He said: “Two or three Lancashire players did it last year in the Liverpool Competition.”
He added, however, that it was not the LCB who set the rules for individual leagues, but the leagues themselves.