League managers ask clubs for ideas to improve competition

Premier panel umpire Ray Allen (above) who is asking clubs to say what they want to Tolchards Devon League to look like

CLUBS playing in the Tolchards Devon League are being asked for ideas how to improve the competition from top to bottom.

Ray Allen, a Premier panel umpire and the league’s rules and regulations secretary, has been listening to the views of clubs on what’s good and what isn’t about the league all season.

With the season drawing to a close – two rounds of matches remain – Allen in partnership with the league management executive wants to broaden the debate by asking clubs what they think about a raft of suggestions already made.

League officials have stressed these are not proposals for change from the executive, but ideas put forward by clubs and players.

Ed Leverton, the league secretary, said the range of suggested changes is ‘thought provoking’ and he hopes clubs will discuss them internally and come back with responses before the meeting season starts.

“With the upcoming divisional meetings in mind in early October, the league is trying to solicit the views of member clubs around a range of subjects,” said Leverton.

“These are simply ideas being floated, not proposals from ‘league bosses’ for change.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Allen who told clubs: “This is your league, the aim is to make it enjoyable, fair and straight forward, which we cannot do without your help.

“I have spoken to chairman, captains and players and collected suggestions on how to improve the playing format, making it easier to get the game on and more enjoyable for those taking part.”

As the Tolchards Devon League is a 15-division competition from top to bottom, the needs, issues and desires of club can vary enormously.

This summer’s football World Cup and the issue of cricketers wanting to watch big matches involving England has prompted one item for discussion.

“Should the constitution include flexibility for extraordinary events, i.e. World Cup games, Devon county fixtures?” said Allen.

Wasted journeys on wet weather days is another issue that has prompted the question, should the cancellation time change to 9.00 am on a match day?

As 40-over cricket has been well received from the F Divisions down, should it be extended to the E Divisions?

Can the use of covers include B Division games in future?

Although games in the Premier, A and B Divisions benefit from panel umpires, the rest of the league has to go without.

The new MCC regulations on non-pitching deliveries have been enforced at the top of the league all season, but are less rigorously imposed lower down, where umpires are not always fully trained and can be a player waiting to bat.

The question clubs are being asked to consider is: should the MCC laws on non-pitching deliveries above the waist only apply in games with panel officials?

Another technical point for games where panel umpires stands concerns field settings during power plays.

In the briefing note sent out to clubs, Allen asks” During Power Play a player cannot bring any fielding errors to the umpires’ notice after the ball has been delivered. Does this continue to be solely the umpires’ decision? 

At the very top of the league a handful of suggestions – and they are nothing more than that – have been made for Premier Division clubs.

They are:

X X The adoption of coloured clothing and a quality pink ball for fixtures.

X X Start times of 11.30 am

X X Sole voting on Premier Division changes

X X Automatic entry to the Devon T20 KO Cup

X X A minimum of six 120-over games per season. Currently games are 100 overs.

One change definitely coming in next season is use of the ECB bat gauge in Premier fixtures. First Class counties have had suspect bats tested since 2017.

“If a bat does not fit the ECB bat gauge it won’t be able to be used,” said Allen.

League officials are keen to know what clubs think on the ideas suggested – and any new ones they have – well before the divisional meetings in October.

For  views to be considered they need to be emailed to Allen at raygballen@gmail.comby Friday, August 31.