Tolchards DCL annual meeting to vote on league rules and regulations overhaul

CHANGES to the laws of cricket will be incorporated in next season’s Tolchards Devon Cricket League rulebook, which will be ratified at Friday night’s completion annual meeting in Exeter.

MCC - the guardians of the game – have changed the laws relating to bowling full-pitched no balls. Bowlers will get one warning and if they do it again they are banned from bowling in the rest of the match.

The English Cricket Board, which overseas cricket in Premier League format, is behind a crackdown on bad behaviour.

Players who step out of line on the pitch will be subject to an immediate five-run penalty – and may still be liable for disciplinary action later.

Devon League officials intend imposing a limitation on short-pitched bowling – one allowed per over – and are trying a new approach to slow over rates.

Premier and A Division teams who fail to bowl their overs in the time allowed, currently three hours and 15 minutes, will suffer a five-run penalty imposed on the spot.

The existing regulation allows for match points to be deducted from the league table.

Ray Allen, the rules officer for the league, has spent around 300 man hours refining playing regulations and the competition constitution. It is the first major examination of the rulebook for a decade.

The process was necessary to reflect a number of changes, among them the scrapping of separate first and second team competitions and the creation of an all-through league.

The majority of the changes are expected to go through unopposed as they were provisionally agreed by clubs at divisional conclaves.

Increasing the number of power plays from two to three per game and slimming games down to 40 over a side from the F Division and below have already been agreed in principal.

Where there is room for dissent is in the proposed amendments put forward by clubs to the drafted new playing regulations and constitution.

The vexed question of fielding circles in lower divisions is up for discussion again. Some club want them, some don’t and some say their grounds aren’t big enough to have a meaningful 30-yard circle.

Among the amendments to playing regulations is one relating to the eligibility of home-grown, Category Two players on adult contracts with First Class counties.

Currently. Category Two First Class players can appear in the league for a club they were previously attached to, providing they played at least 12 games for that club in the two seasons prior to their 21st birthday.

An amendment put forward by North Devon and seconded by Bovey Tracey proposes lowering the age limit to 18. If accepted the Overton twins would both be eligible to play for North Devon as home-grown players. At the moment, neither is classed as home-grown, meaning only one can play under a rule that limits sides to one Category Two player per team.

The meeting will take place at the Exeter Court Hotel and gets under way at 7pm.

Once the rule changes have been voted on, end of season awards will be handed out to divisional winners and individuals.

Steve Mardell from sponsors  Tolchards Drinks, will be presenting the league awards.