HJL set up the B Leagues in order to encourage those players who were not at a stage in their cricket development to play A team cricket. They were not set up as an alternative option for Clubs who believed their teams not good enough to win the A league. By their very nature, set up to encourage participation, coaches and managers will need to set aside their urge to win against the need to involve all their players in an enjoyable cricket experience.
Judging by the volume of complaints we receive about how Clubs are approaching selection and tactics in these Leagues they are not currently fulfilling their original purpose. In essence the problem appears to be what constitutes an A League player. Some Clubs would argue that if a player is a regular in an A League Team that makes them an A League player. Others say it is a matter of absolute ability not what team anyone is playing in. A further complication is where Clubs only enter a side into the B League. Does that therefore make all their players B League players? Many sides have squads who draw from one pool of players for both A and B Leagues which essentially opens up the possibility of sides putting out stronger B Teams as the business end of the season approaches giving rise to cries of recrimination from other Clubs.
The HJL Commitee do not believe they are able to, or it is their role to, legislate for the full range of sharp practices which can run contrary to the “Spirit of Cricket” and negate the purpose of the B leagues. Ultimately, it is the member clubs who will define the ethos of the B Leagues by the way they approach tactics and selection and we very much hope they accept this responsibility. However, we do believe that some changes are necessary and some fundamentals need to be reinforced.
- B Leagues are set up to encourage participation and help the development of players not yet able to realistically participate in A League Cricket.
- B leagues are not an alternative for Clubs who think they cannot win an A league.
- County Age Group (CAG) boys of any age are not allowed to play in a B League team. CAG girls can play B team cricket with the two year age gap rule remaining in place (General rules for all competitions – rule 8). Only 4 Area players (boys) can play in any one side. Area players from younger age groups do not count in this number.
- Clubs must consider very carefully the size of their squads before entering teams in A and B Leagues in any one age group. Sides will not be allowed to essentially field the same players in both A and B leagues in the same year group. If a Club feels they want to run two sides with a limited squad or share players (4/5) between squads they should approach the League with the possibility of entering a B league in the year above their age group.
- If sides have an essentially weak squad with some strong players and wish to enter a B league the stronger players should be encouraged to play in older age group teams rather than dominate games in the B League of their own age group.
- The winner of the B League will automatically be considered for promotion to the A League in the following season. If any side opts not to take this option they will not be eligible to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition.
In order to build the B league philosophy within the competition players at all age groups will be required to retire at 25 and no one bowler will be allowed to bowl more than 3 overs.