Mark Simmerson rounds up the team news with the debut season for the South Yorkshire Alliance Works Midweek League in 2022.
The pandemic has changed the world and cricket has not been immune. The last two seasons have been difficult for local leagues and particularly awkward for midweek cricket leagues. But we have survived and indeed, we have changed.
The clue lies in the change of name above. The Sheffield Alliance Midweek League merged with the Sheffield Works League to form the South Yorkshire Alliance Works Midweek League.
Alongside this, some teams from the Barnsley area have been added. Games remain at 12 to 16 eight-ball overs, but to minimise travel across the region, the League is regionalised into three divisions, one for North and two for South with play-offs in the final two weeks of the season.
The League season commenced on 27 April 2022 with the final league fixtures on 27 July. The play-offs will be on 3rd and 10th August. For the South, we have tried to set the divisions to try and ensure we maintain a competitive standard without, hopefully, glaring mismatches.
However, for this season only we will take the winners of each division into a play-off route along with the best runner up. From 2023, the league will still be in two sections but promotion and relegation between two divisions in each section. The play-offs are to decide the overall winners. Each Division has eight teams with each team playing their opponents twice – home and away.
Obviously, behind the scenes, a tremendous amount of work has been done to get to this point. It would be remiss not to name-check Steve Birch – Mr Alliance Midweek, Glen Burden – representing the Barnsley area teams and Rob Horne of the Works League.
It really is their vision, drive and determination to ‘get the League on’ that has brought us to this point. And all done with good nature and good humour. Well done all!
Some of the clubs will be familiar to players in the various ‘Saturday’ Leagues in the area, but some will be relatively unknown, this particularly applies to some of the teams from the Alliance Midweek, which traditionally had clubs that were specific to that League.
So, by way of an introduction, there follows some very brief club snapshots.
Barnsley Woolley Miners
One of our friends from the North, a big club with five Saturday teams. Barnsley Woolley Miners are a result of the merger between Barnsley and Woolley cricket clubs, they have a long and proud history of providing players for Yorkshire CC and beyond, with numerous young and aspiring cricketers looking forward to the new challenge of the South Yorkshire Alliance Works Midweek Cricket League. They will surely go well in Division North and would expect to feature strongly at the end of the summer.
Bradfield Village Fellowship
Long established in the heart of Lower Bradfield, they have four senior cricket teams. The first XI compete in Division 3 of the South Yorkshire Cricket League, with the second XI playing in league 5 – both on Saturdays. A new third team will be partaking in the Barnsley & District League this season. A play-off spot will be their goal for the summer.
One of the leading clubs of the old Alliance Midweek, long-established in Ecclesfield, they are a competitive team, with some exciting players, they should perform well in the strong Division North group.
Darfield Cricket Club
Darfield is a small village cricket club that has teams competing in the SYSCL, Barnsley & District Cricket League, various junior leagues as well as Alliance Works Midweek Cricket League. They are vibrant, competitive and keen for silverware!
Higham Cricket Club
Higham is a village just outside Barnsley. The cricket club now fields teams in the SYSCL, Barnsley & District Cricket League, Alliance Works Midweek Cricket League and junior leagues. They are excited to be bringing short-format cricket to the Barnsley area and welcoming clubs to their new changing room facilities!
Sheffield Civil Service
A combination of both the former clubs of the Civil Service and Shardlows, they play at Green Lane in Ecclesfield. Perhaps lacking the prestige of the likes of Barnsley Woolley Miners and Bradfield Village Fellowship, under-estimate the Sheffield Civil Service at your peril.
A small but vibrant club, they have performed well in the upper divisions of the Alliance in the last few seasons. They will play at Shiregreen this season and will expect to perform well in the division.
Thorpe Hesley and High Green
Formed in 2014 by a merger of the aforementioned two village clubs. Very much a club with a firm community base. They will expect to carry on last season’s good form, in which they finished second in the Works League.
Division South – A
Attock have been one of the leading clubs in the Alliance over the last two decades, perennially finishing in the top three of the Premier Division with numerous titles. Expect them to feature strongly in a very tough Division! They play their games at Caribbean Sports in Ecclesfield.
De La Salle
Salle play at the lovely ground at Beauchief, they are one of several clubs clustered around the Millhouses-Meadowhead area of south Sheffield. Frequently fielding a side of very mixed abilities, they might find the division a little tough going!
A mercurial team from the Alliance, capable on their day of scoring bucketloads of runs. Another team that exists only for midweek cricket. They play their home games at Meadowhead, sharing with Sheffield Transport.
Playing at Bawtry Road, Outokumpo Stainless are a midweek only club that always hovered around the upper divisions of the Alliance. They should be competitive in their division.
Parkhead are another of the south Sheffield cluster, ostensibly a small club with a small ground hard by the Wheatsheaf. But don’t be fooled. For years they have been the leading club in the Yorkshire and Derbyshire League, they are accustomed to winning and will expect to be a title challenger come the end of the summer.
With their top weekend team in the Premier League, this is a strong club with a long and proud history in Clifton Park. Rotherham will expect to perform well this season.
Collegiate are undoubtedly the largest, most well-known club of the South Sheffield cluster – and indeed beyond. One of the top clubs of the Alliance Midweek over the years, they will expect to perform very well in the Division. And who would bet against them?
The “Watters” play at the Hallam CC ground on Crimicar Lane and have been a leading club in the Alliance Midweek over the years. They complete the formidably strong Division South – A and will have their work cut out to reach the knock-out stages. However, with their long association with Hallam, they have the potential to put out some strong teams.
Division South – B
Another stalwart team of the Alliance, existing only for midweek cricket. Historically a team of the mid reaches of the middle divisions of the Alliance. Should have a good, solid season and challenge for the play-offs. Their home ground is the pretty little ground in Grave Park, just off Charles Ashmore Road, home of Norton Woodseats.
Brincliffe epitomise midweek cricket. They play entirely for the enjoyment of the game, occasionally win a match or two, but the result seems entirely incidental to the pleasure of playing. And they play at the beautiful ground at Beauchief, which adds to the fun.
Solid mid-division, mid-table team from the Alliance. Another midweek only club, with a potpourri of players with allegiances to bigger, Saturday league sides. They share the bijou ground at the Wheatsheaf with Parkhead.
Another one from the cluster of clubs in south Sheffield, they won Division B of the Alliance last summer, so will fancy their chances of silverware this season. Long established small club that always seems to punch above its’ weight.
Cents play at the historic Olive Grove Road and come to the new league from the Works League. They should be very competitive in the Division.
The last of the south Sheffield cluster, Transport play at Meadowhead and are very much a club of their community. With their top Saturday side now playing at their highest level ever, and possessing some explosive batting, tailor-made for Wednesday nights, they will be a force in the Division.
Based at Guilthwaite Hill in the village of Whiston, are a small, friendly village club and are newcomers to midweek cricket. They should compete well in their division and may yet feature in the business end of the summer.
A club with a long history in the middle to lower reaches of the old Alliance league and also competing at a similar level in the Works League. Despite their name, Woodhouse play in Graves Park and they exist solely for the midweek game, they should compete well in Division South – B.
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