CULLINGWORTH Cricket Club have thanked the Spenser Wilson Halifax League for allowing them time to hopefully rebuild.

Due to a significant reduction in playing numbers, the Premier Division club realised that they would struggle to field two teams this season, which took the league's management board by surprise as the first team had achieved back-to-back promotions.

Cullingworth subsequently held an extraordinary general meeting to discuss their options and decided on a course of action that would most likely allow them to continue competitively, while offering some opportunities for their junior players.

They therefore made a formal request to the league to drop their second team and to demote their first team two tiers to the Second Division.

Steve Welch, Cullingworth's acting chairman and secretary, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly.

"However, the club officers, with support of the current players and members, feel that this is the best course of action to buy some time to recruit local cricketers and develop our junior players into senior cricketers.”

He added: “I would also like to thank the (league) executive for their understanding in this matter and hope that Cullingworth can again build from a core of committed members who have local cricket at the heart of their decisions.”

The management board considered their requests, despite all of the fixtures already being published on the league website, and approved them unanimously.

Queensbury, whose first team were relegated last season, were offered the chance in the premier Division, but declined the offer.

Bridgeholme, who finished third in Division One last season, have accepted the offer to be promoted to the Premier Division and will take the place of Cullingworth.

Clayton, who finished third in Division Two, have been offered the opportunity to play in Division One next season and have accepted.

There was a strong possibility that Cullingworth could have folded completely, and so the decision was made to support the club and let cricket continue with just one team and give club officials the opportunity to regroup.

League chairman Anthony Briggs said: “The league's management board thought it was essential that the integrity of the Premier League competition was maintained, but at the same time we wanted to ensure that another cricket club was not lost to the area.”

This means that all of the league fixtures have been rewritten and the competition will have a 12-8-10 structure for first XIs and a 12-8-8 structure for second XIs.

This has caused a real headache for the league executive and will mean that the issue of the league yearbook will be delayed slightly.

The revised fixture list will be issued to all clubs as soon as possible, and Briggs added: "The whole league owes a huge thank you to former league fixture secretary Peter Taylor, who has stepped out of retirement and is currently reworking the fixture list for the forthcoming season at extremely short notice."