Surrey Cricket Foundation has been consulting on a range of proposals to merge the senior leagues in Surrey into one pyramid league. It is important that our members are aware of the proposal as we will be asked to vote early in 2024, ahead of potential implementation in 2025.
Following a round of consultation events that saw around 160 people attend SCF's virtual (recorded) and 4 face to face sessions SCF have provided an update on the next steps.
SCF undertook indicative votes at each session to get a flavour for the feeling in the room (votes were not recorded/counted) and approximately 80% of those who attended believe the merger is a good idea. A further 15% approximately were unsure and around 5% were not in favour. SCF believe this provides a clear mandate for us to proceed with the project over the coming months.
The preferred structure that has emerged from the consultation is Option 2 with 69 of 110 (63%) attendees that provided an indicative vote feeling that this is the best structure to move forwards with. SCF will now seek to take this structure forwards as part of the next steps outlined below.
Post event documents
SCF committed to sharing the following documents with you following the consultation:
• Slides from the presentation
• Frequently Asked Questions
• The data sets from the player survey that informed the draft playing conditions
• The prospectus
You will now find all of this on the Surrey Cricket Foundation website here - https://www.surreycricketfoundation.org/page/clubs--leagues/senior-leagues-merger/senior-leagues-merger-18868/.
The FAQs document will grow as SCF receive more questions through the feedback form that people have started completing and SCF will also endeavour to reply to all of these bits of feedback as well.
Key Questions Learnings
SCF wanted to summarise the key questions that came from the meetings below and where SCF don’t have all the answers they will be seeking further feedback over the coming weeks before coming back to people:
• Start times – the proposed 12pm start time will not work for all levels within a new structure due to a number of factors (e.g. junior cricket, junior players playing adult cricket, teachers being available to play, finish times based on game length) so this will need further consideration. Game lengths will also have an impact on start time – the longer the game, the earlier the start time needs to be broadly speaking. The ability to flex start times should also be explored at different parts of the structure and SCF will see what other leagues do in this space.
• Big clubs getting bigger – There were some concerns that a new, open structure, might lead big clubs to get bigger at the expense of smaller clubs. Whilst SCF don’t think this is going to be the case, SCF are going to seek some feedback from other leagues that have already moved to a similar structure to find out what their experience has been. It is worth noting that the current structures have possibly played a part in the loss of some smaller clubs, where travel times in our current structures have made it hard for smaller clubs to retain players within the game. The Surrey County League provided an example with Ewhurst who were always able to fulfil home fixtures but often struggled to get enough players to travel to away matches.
• How will regionalisation work? – This will form part of the next stages of the process as the workstream responsible for divisional make up and regionalisation begin to proceed to the next step of the process. To provide a broad principle on this (using Option 2 given its preference) as the structure hits the first element of regionalisation the idea would be to identify the 20 teams that are likely to sit in those divisions (3 West and 3 East) and then place them based on the best possible outcomes from a travel perspective. This is a process that is already used further down the structure in the Surrey Championship and Surrey County League with 3rd, 4th and 5th XIs.
• Where will my team be placed in the structure? – SCF fully understand that this is an important next step that everyone is keen to see and SCF will be seeking to provide a first draft of this early in the new year (see below). At the moment SCF can develop this based on the teams in the 3 current leagues, but SCF will also need to consider what other teams/clubs may seek to enter the new structure and SCF are likely to find out more about the likely intake as SCF move into next Spring.
SCF now plan to go away and develop the proposals further and will aim to do the following early in the new year:
• Present a clear proposal including the proposed divisional structure, including where teams might be placed in the new structure.
• Outline the different playing levels within the structure and provide draft, high level, playing conditions for each level.
• Identify the facility requirements that will be necessary at each level.
• Provide a further timeline for delivering the project ready for a May 2025 start.
I hope that provides a clear and thorough update for you and do feel free to come back if you have any questions or queries.