FORMER SADDLEWORTH captain Brian Lord has accused CLL clubs of “snobbery” towards Saddleworth League clubs.
Lord believes that is the driving force behind Walsden, Littleborough, Norden, Rochdale and Middleton applying to join an enlarged Lancashire League.
He said: “By finishing second in the Premiership, we proved it was a myth that CLL clubs are better than us.
“CLL clubs have shown snobbery towards Saddleworth League clubs, but results have shown that has been unfounded.”
Lord pointed to the new league’s Premiership containing eight CLL clubs and four from the Saddleworth League.
But after promotion and relegation in the first season, it is six and six given that Heyside had spent most of their time in the Saddleworth League.
Lord fears for the future of the league saying: “Sadly I could see a mass exodus of clubs to the Greater Manchester League and that would leave the Pennine League not viable.
“It is important for the remaining clubs to get together and speak about how to move forward.
“I am sad what has happened because it was a great league in its current form and the cricket was competitive, but due to the snobbery of some clubs it will not continue in its current form after only two years.”
Lord’s thoughts were echoed privately by many other clubs, but he was willing to go on the record.
Austerlands captain Andrew Young sees no reason for clubs to “jump ship” so soon.
“It is a sorry state that these so called big glamorous haven’t give the new league a few years before making a decision to leave. It all seems to have been done deliberately and the Lancashire Cricket Board has done nothing to defend our league to which we are fully committed,” he said.
Danny Anchor, Moorside captain for the last four year, says he also worries for the future of the league.
Professional: Shanuka Dulaj (Sri Lanka)
Overseas player: C J Ferreira (South Africa)
Captain: Andrew Young
There was delight at Austerlands after they finished seventh in the Premiership.
“The aim was to avoid relegation, and we did that comfortably. We did well considering our resources as we cannot compete against a lot of clubs in our division so, in that respect, we overachieved,” explained captain Andrew Young.
There is excitement at the capture of Dulaj who was once a schoolboy prodigy is Sri Lanka where he plays for Moors Sports Club.
Ferreira is back for a third season while Flowery Field bowler Lee Milner has been signed to replace Mohammad Irfan who has moved to the Bolton League.
Batsman/wicketkeeper Harry Woodhead has joined the club after returning from Australia that had been home.
Professional: Salman Syed (Pakistan)
Overseas: Cameron Engelbreckt (South Africa)
Captain: Andy Walker
Friarmere have a new professional as Bradford-based Pakistani Salman Syed replaces Adil Mustafa who has joined Bamford.
He is bringing with him attacking opening batsman Fazil Wazir from the Bradford League while former Friarmere pro Asif Ayyum is returning as an amateur. Two other new signings are batsman Kashis Ijaz and leg spinner Ehtisham Yaqub, a former first-class cricketer who has not played the game for seven years.
Leaving the club are Afak Ali Sartaj and Siraj Akhtar who are moving to clubs in the Liverpool Competition.
Professional Gerry Snyman (Namibia)
Overseas: Tommy Mashiane (South Africa)
Captain: Rick Harrington
Former Heyside professional Gerry Snyman, a Namibian all-rounder replaces Grant Hodnett who has joined Timperley in the Cheshire County League.
Tommy Mashiane is back as overseas player while wicketkeeper Pip Taylor and opening bowler Drew Fullalove have been signed from Shaw.
Opening batsman Richard Baines has retired and Danny Anchor stands down after four years as captain to be replaced by Rick Harrington.
Anchor said the team underachieved last season but has strengthened and he expects them to be challenging for promotion.
Professional: Rivaldo Moon Samy (South Africa)
Overseas: Jonathan Crankshaw (South Africa)
Captain: Chris Gill
Greenfield’s new professional Rivaldo Moon Samy, is a South African U19 international, and a batsman who can bowl while overseas player Jonathan Crankshaw is a batsman.
They have further strengthened the side by signing bowler Jake Caudwell, from Micklehurst, Ashton spinner Brad Woolley while Joe Hepworth returns to the club after a spell living in Australia.
The only departure is all-rounder Adam Hayes who is moving away.
After finishing mid-table in the Premiership, captain Chris Gill believes they ought to put out a “decent” side again this summer following the strengthening.
Professional: Imran Aslam (Pakistan)
Overseas: work in progress
Captain: Imran Aslam
After finishing runners-up to Walsden in the Premiership last season, Saddleworth only missed out on the title by two points on the last day of the season.
Brian Lord says it will be tough to repeat it, especially after Pakistani overseas player Nauman Akram is not returning, a “big loss” according to Lord.
“We had agreed in principle to re-sign Nauman before there was a change of rules and the new regulations made it harder to sign overseas players,” he explained.
Saddleworth have signed bowler Tom Avery, from Rochdale, though he has played for them before.
Professional: Ayaz Tasawar (Pakistan)
Overseas: Jimmy Douglas (South Africa)
Captain: James Baron
New captain James Baron says the outlooked is a “lot more positive” than last year.
He says it is the first time for five or six years that Uppermill have had both a professional and overseas player.
Tasawar was recommended by Saddleworth pro Imran Aslam and has been in fine form back home scoring three centuries in his last four first-class matches.
Douglas, who is from Pretoria, is also a batsman.
Uppermill had been hoping to sign a couple more players, but they have decided to stay at their club.