SPORTS THOUGHTS: Why is it so hard to find enough cricketers?

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In an Ashes summer, cricket’s popularity usually reaches fever pitch across England, and local teams would be expecting new players to be knocking down the door.

This year that isn’t the case, clubs are struggling to keep their teams on the pitch, and there have already been some notable losses to this area’s leagues in 2013. At Wold Newton we are used to a struggle for player numbers, especially around harvest time, but this season at times it has been difficult to field a first team, with the 2nds already losing several games to a lack of numbers.

There have been many discussions about why this is happening, when only a couple of years ago clubs were launching 2nd, 3rd and even 4th teams.

A strong possibility would be that last season’s shocking weather conditions have put people off returning for this year - with a record number of games abandoned to rain in 2012, and many Saturdays ruined, but most cricketers understand that rain is all part of playing cricket.

In some local leagues across the country, Saturday cricket follows the timing of professional one-day cricket, starting in the morning and finishing shortly after tea - the introduction of this would certainly suit many young players, who find finishing as late as 9pm on a Saturday too much. It would be controversial and difficult to introduce, but might be a solution.

It is difficult to say whether there is one reason, or a number of reasons for the decline in participation numbers in local cricket this year, but something has definitely gone wrong.

Hopefully we wont see any more teams disappearing, and the rest of us will be able to struggle on for the rest of summer, and then action must be taken over winter to help league cricket come back stronger in 2014.

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