THE SADDLEWORTH and District Cricket League has received a major lift for the new season after clinching a major sponsorship deal.
Stalybridge-based vehicle repairers SWB Commercials are to back the league for the 2015 and 2016 campaigns in a deal running into a four-figure sum.
The league was without a sponsor in 2014 after a deal with Versasteel expired.
“It is a two-year agreement and a big boost to the league,” explained secretary Trevor Harrison who added that the new company is owned by Steven Bird who plays at Stayley.
Hollinwood, meanwhile, will not be taking part in the 2015 season after asking the league to suspend their membership for 12 months.
The club, which was formed in 1877, has been struggling on and off the field and hopes to regroup and return in 2016.
Hollinwood have enjoyed success, winning the last of their three league titles in 2006 while they have also lifted the Tanner Cup on two occasions. They last won the second division championship in 2009 and Moore Cup in both 2004 and 2005.
It means that the Saddleworth League will start the new season with 14 clubs after Heyside left to join the Central Lancashire League.
Mr Harrison also gave an update as to progress regarding the formation of a new Greater Manchester Cricket League which is gathering pace.
Nine sub groups have been meeting throughout the winter to explore the formation of a pyramid system to replace the current structure of eight separate leagues in the county.
They are due to put their findings into a prospectus to be published in mid-April. Then on April 30 there will be an open meeting at Old Trafford to discuss the future direction.
Mr Harrison said: “We will have a clearer idea what is entailed once the prospectus is out.
“I should imagine the biggest issue will be deciding which divisions teams play in, something which will be done by examining playing records, facilities and equipment.
“There is still talk about starting in 2016, but I see 2017 as being more realistic given what is entailed in setting up a new league.”