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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Moor the merrier as Lindal are reinstated to cricket top flight

LINDAL Moor chiefs say their are “honoured” to have been reinstated to the North Lancs and Cumbria Cricket League Premier Divisionfollowing Appleby Eden’s shock resignation.

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HAPPY DAYS: Lindal Moor players can celebrate after being reinstated to the North Lancs Premier Division MILTON HAWORTH

Appleby were set to contest their first season in the North Lancs top flight this summer after winning the first division title – but the East Cumbrians have decided to end their 10-year spell in the league and rejoin the Eden Valley set-up.

The announcement was bad news for league secretary Colin Bickerstaffe who had already compiled the 2013 fixture list and so had to rip it up and start again – but good news for Lindal, who will get another chance to prove themselves among the elite.

The Pennington Lane side lost their Premier Division status on a dramatic final day of the season. They were one point ahead of relegation rivals Whitehaven, with Haven heading to top-of-the-table Cockermouth and Lindal at second-placed Furness – an added twist being that the clubs’ two opponents were battling it out for the title.

While Whitehaven earned a shock winning draw at Cockermouth, who gained the eight points they needed to be crowned champions, Lindal were reduced to 94-9 at Furness and lost the game as bowler Jack Cumberbatch was injured and unable to bat, meaning they made an immediate return to the first division alongside Kirkby.

That was until Appleby Eden said they were quitting the league – listing reasons on the club website which included two players, Mark Ousby and Scott Clement, joining Netherfield, plus travel distances and costs – and the North Lancs League management committee voted in favour of offering Moor a place in the Premier Division. The restructuring means Egremont, who finished bottom of Division One, will retain their place in the second tier, and the knock-on effect is that Division Two will be reduced to a 10-team competition, meaning a later start and an earlier finish to the season.

Lindal spokesman Alastair McDougall said: “Colin (Bickerstaffe) got in touch with us asking us if we would be prepared to come back up if we were offered the chance.

“We feel honoured to be asked because the Premier Division is the best league we can compete in and we went down last season feeling we never fulfilled our potential.

“The players were very disappointed and we felt that we had taken a backward step, no disrespect to the first division.

“The players were pretty disconsolate, so it has given the players and the club a big lift.”

He added: “Colin said nine of the management committee members had voted in our favour which is nice to know.”

Bickerstaffe, who is now busy amending the fixture lists, said: “We decided the fairest thing to do was to reinstate Lindal Moor with Egremont taking Lindal Moor’s place in Division One.

“Lindal were desperately unlucky to be relegated so at least that has evened itself out.”

He added: “The changes mean Division Two only has 10 teams, so they will have a programme of 18 games.

“Because of that they are going to start a fortnight later and end a fortnight earlier which might help clubs who have a lot of soccer and rugby lads, so something good might come out of this.”

Lindal’s reprieve is also good news for Furness, who faced the prospect of having no local derbies in the Premier Division this summer – unless you count their 40-minute trips around Duddon Estuary to play Millom and Haverigg.

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