"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson


I.C.C “A” Group problems again as Worcs withdraw

The I.C.C groups involving Norfolk Premier and Norfolk “A” for the 2024/25 season have been announced and are the same as this season. Norfolk Premier will again play Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire while Norfolk “A” are scheduled to play West Mids “A”, Worcestershire and Essex “A”. But it is beginning to look like a case of déjà vu for the “A” team as Worcestershire have informed ESMBA Competition Secretary Steve Bailey that they are reluctantly withdrawing due to the traveling distances involved. A change for 2024/25 is that teams will no longer be allowed to arrange “double fixtures” as have happened on occasions in previous years. Last season Norfolk Premier played double fixtures at both Northants & Suffolk due to venue problems. Norfolk “A” had also been set to play Worcs in a double fixture at a neutral venue but Worcs were unable to raise a team and conceded the matches. The ban on double fixtures is likely to impact on Cornwall & Hampshire whose bowlers face a 500 mile round trip to play each other. Those counties, according to Cornwall, had already begun discussions about a potential “double fixture” citing the welfare of their bowlers. The ESMBA have since clarified the situation and stated that while “double fixtures” will not be allowed neutral venues will be permitted if that is what both counties want but no double fixtures will be allowed. Reasons given are that a lot of counties have players who are not able to play all day non stop and would therefore be at a disadvantage. Another reason given is that double fixtures have a major effect on umpires welfare. In response to comments made that the I.C.C competition is struggling Steve Bailey has stated that this is not true. He has said that “in the past few years we have gained Humberside, Shropshire and now Greater Manchester as well as Essex now returning and putting in two teams, we have also had more enquiries from new counties about joining the following season.”   

steve bailey

E.S.M.B.A Competition Secretary Steve Bailey

(photo courtesy of ESMBA)



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