DAISY Hill have been told they will be evicted from the Bolton League from the end of this summer after it emerged they only planned to play with one senior team and no juniors next season.

The St James Street club were shocked and disappointed, not only at being asked to leave, but for it to be done via email on Saturday night.

First-team captain Steve Chilton found out while still in the dressing room following their Association win at Astley Bridge.

The Bolton League say their other clubs are “entitled to expect certain standards to be maintained”.

Chilton said: “The leagues have chopped and changed over the years, but we’ve always been involved in Bolton cricket. It’s just disappointing.

“We were planning to produce a Saturday team and then a Sunday team in another league.

“We’d previously sat with the Lancashire Cricket Foundation with regards to improving our junior set-up because it’s non-existent at the moment.

“We were already showing willing to improve that.

“We then had a meeting with the Bolton League a couple of Mondays ago (June 24) – Phil Andrews, the acting chairman, Karen Knott and Mitch Cregan represented them.

“An actual direct quote from that meeting was: ‘We do not want to lose any clubs from the league, we’ll support you where we can’. Then we get an email on Saturday telling us to leave.”

Daisy Hill chairman Neil Redford admitted he was disappointed the BCL’s decision was conveyed via email: “Very much so,” he said.

Chilton went on: “They could have called us back for a meeting before the paperwork was followed up.

“It would have been a bit more respectful to a club established in 1896 than just an email. We’re the oldest club in the league.

“We were in the changing rooms when I got a message from our secretary (Jennifer Berry). I had to tell them: ‘Well done lads on winning two in a row, but we’re leaving the league’. It really took the shine off.”

While Daisy have fulfilled all fixtures this season, it has been a struggle with the second team.

Chilton said: “In respect to the seconds, we’re dragging lads out of the darts teams. We have loads of darts teams.

“We’re still trying to leave a few players in the seconds to compete, but it dilutes the first team.

“The last two weekends, we’ve played our strongest side in the firsts and have won back-to-back.”

“Because of the financial implications with fines for not fulfilling fixtures, we were trying to be pro-active and let them know our situation, looking for support.

“They’ve done it in the past with other clubs (Tonge for example), but they said, ‘No’.

“It’s well documented around England that junior cricket is struggling.

“Our juniors paired with Little Hulton last year, but they’ve gone with Farnworth Social Circle. Kearsley and Farnworth are sharing juniors. It’s not like we’re alone with that problem.”

There is a meeting of players and club officials tonight. It was initially going to be a discussion over whether to stay in or leave the Bolton League. Redford said league officials had initially given them a month’s extension beyond June 30 to make that decision.

Now the meeting will be to discuss their next move, with the Greater Manchester League an obvious frontrunner.

A Bolton League spokesman said: “The League Executive felt Daisy Hill, by indicating they were only able to field one senior team and no juniors in the 2020 season, gave them no other option but to release them in time to secure a place in another league.

“Other clubs in the Bolton League are entitled to expect certain standards to be maintained.”