IT will be all change in crickets Home Counties Premier League next season when Henley defend their Division 1 title,
IT will be all change in crickets Home Counties Premier League next season when Henley defend their Division 1 title, following the decision of the Hertfordshire clubs to secede from the league to return to the Saracens Hertfordshire League and create their own structure.
In place of North Mymms, Harpenden and relegated Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City, Division 1 of the League will comprise Henley, Slough, Banbury, Burnham, High Wycombe, Tring Park and Division 2 West champions Oxford plus Aston Rowant, Gerrards Cross and Harefield.
Division 2 East and West will now become just one division comprising clubs drawn from the Thames Valley and the Cherwell leagues.
To compound matters, following an exodus of players and plans to purchase their ground, Farnham Royal are stepping down from Division 2 of the Home Counties League to rejoin Division 3 of the Thames Valley League.
All this means that last season’s Thames Valley League Division 1 champions Amersham and Cherwell Leageu Division 1 champions Horspath, together with Finchampstead, Chesham and Shipton-under-Wychwood will move up to Division 2 of the Home Counties Premier League whilst relegated Falkland are given a reprieve and stay up.
The silver lining for Henley 2nds is that despite finishing bottom of Division 1 of the Thames Valley Legaue, they will retain their place in the division.
Speaking of the Hertfordshire club’s decision to quit the Home Counties Premier League, Henley’s secretary Michael Roberts told the Standard: “It is a real shame that the Herts clubs have decided to go it alone.
“It may prove to be a case of act in haste and repent at leisure, but there it is, and we must get on with things as they now are.
“We never minded travelling over to Hertfordshire, and over the years, clubs like Welwyn, Radlett, Harpenden, Bishops Stortford and North Mymms have proved to be excellent opposition.
“In the short term, it might dilute the level of competition in Division 1 of the Home Counties Premier League but as the league settles down and the clubs that have moved up in the respective divisions come to terms with the standard and demands and adapt accordingly, it will be business as usual.
“For our second XI, it is an opportunity to regroup, build on some youthful promise and come back stronger in 2014.”