Shake-up is still on the cards

A split could be on the way for Northern League clubs

A split could be on the way for Northern League clubs

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The danger of the break-up of cricket’s Northern Premier League is looming larger than ever, it has emerged

Not only is the Lancashire League pressing ahead with expansion plans from 2017, but all the eight Northern League clubs who have applied to join still want a piece of that action in the revamped competition.

That is the firm contention from the Lancashire League chairman Mike Bibby, though he admitted that the over position on any future club structure remained ‘delicate.’

Bibby said: “We are still interviewing clubs and will have completed the exercise by next Monday.

“We are very happy with the responses from all clubs who have been interviewed to date.

“No Northern Premier League club has withdrawn their application.

“Indeed, all have emphasised how keen they are to join us.

“We are led to believe that a response will be received from the Lancashire Cricket Board next week after they have discussed the matter with the England and Wales Cricket Board.”

Preston, Chorley and Leyland are among the Northern League clubs who have applied to join a Lancashire League that will embrace promotion and relegation from 2017.

It has already been reiterated that there would be no place for Cumbrian clubs in any expanded Lancashire League.

All this again puts at issue the future of the Northern League, which has been in existence since 1952 and which was set up, ironically, because of dissatisfaction at the state of club cricket at the time.

This year’s Northern League fixture list will take place as normal and is unaffected by any shake-up.

Bobby Denning, managing director of the LCB, was unavailable for comment.