Cricket's 20:20 vision

NJCL collapse spells a new dawn for midweek cricket

By James Masters, October 14, 2010
The new league will allow some of the established players to experience new challenges in the game

The new league will allow some of the established players to experience new challenges in the game

Jewish cricket in Manchester is set to undergo a huge transformation following the announcement of a new Twenty20 competition.

The improved format will see the Northern Sunday League scrapped with a T20 tournament set to run for around eight weeks from the middle of May. The demise of the 40-over game comes just six months after the Maccabi Sunday League collapsed in London.

NJCL secretary Zevi Saunders believes the move will trigger fresh interest in the sport and is confident that the new set-up will be a huge success.

"This is a not a move backwards but a huge step forward," said Saunders. "With the future of Bury & Whitefield uncertain and Leeds Maccabi electing to remain at home, it left us with only a few teams and there was little point in maintaining the Sunday League.

"Instead, we've moved the competition to midweek, given it a new format and I've already had a lot of positive feedback.

"It's difficult for people to give up a whole Sunday when they have kids or work and it was threatening to make the league go stale.

"People can't afford to give up six to eight hours on a Sunday any more and we're competing for people with football when pre-season training starts in July.

"But we wanted to make sure we managed to keep hold of the Jewish environment somehow and hopefully this new competition will be successful."

The move will see the likes of South Manchester Maccabi, Salford and Manchester Maccabi play in local leagues, while Leeds will compete in a Yorkshire division.

"A lot of our teams played non-Jewish sides last year and had a really good time and made improvements to their game," added Saunders.

"They want to play at a higher level with new players and new challenges and that's what they'll get.

"But the Twenty20 will give them the opportunity to remain on the Jewish circuit and we're looking forward to it."

Last updated: 9:51am, October 15 2010