SHELF, who have issues over obtaining a new lease on their ground, have merged into Northowram Hedge Top, who have a shortage of players.

Talks between the two Spenser Wilson Halifax League clubs have been taking place for several months, and the new club, operating out of Hedge Top Lane, will be known as Shelf Northowram Hedge Top.

They will operate in the same division as Hedge Top, with the first team in the Premier Division and the second team in Division One.

A total of 16 players had already signed transfer forms from Shelf to Hedge Top by the end of the year, and more are expected to follow.

Coupled with the resignation of Bradford League-bound Jer Lane, the constitution of the Halifax League for 2018 will be confirmed at a meeting of the executive committee on Monday, January 15 and be disseminated within 48 hours.

Shelf's statement said: "Shelf Cricket Club has struggled, since joining the Halifax Cricket League, to obtain a new lease on its ground which, in turn, has not allowed the club to develop it to the standard it would like.

"Additionally our landlord has submitted planning permission to build houses on the ground which has left the club in a very vulnerable situation, with player retention and recruitment becoming a massive issue.

"The club held an emergency meeting earlier this year to discuss various proposals and consider the best way forward. One of the proposals was to approach other local clubs that maybe were in a similar situation to ourselves, or indeed a club that may have other concerns overhanging which could impact its own future going forward.

"Our near neighbours Northowram Hedge Top Cricket Club was one of the clubs and, following talks over the past couple of months involving the players and officials on both sides, we wish to announce that Shelf CC will merge into Northowram Hedge Top CC ahead of the 2018 season.

"This process has involved Shelf CC making the very difficult decision of resigning from the Halifax Cricket League - a decision that we may add has not been taken likely.

"However we are delighted to report that 16 players from Shelf have already signed transfer forms as part of the newly-merged club, with more to follow.

"It should be noted that to maintain a cricket presence for the foreseeable future at Carr House Road the name of Shelf CC will be retained for a team that will continue to play in the Bradford Evening League.

"Throughout this process both Shelf CC and Northowram Hedge Top CC have been committed to the common goal of ensuring the Halifax Cricket League is strengthened by avoiding the potential loss of two established clubs.

"We believe this has been achieved and look forward to the commencement of the 2018 season."

Northowram Hedge Top's statement started: "Following what was at times an incredibly difficult 2017 season, especially on the player availability side, a players and officials' meeting was called on September 17 to discuss the future of the club.

"Various proposals were suggested and considered before being taken forward over the following weeks.

"One of those ideas involved approaching other clubs who may be in similar situations to ourselves or indeed have other concerns overhanging them which could impact their own future going forward."

It continued: "As part of this process we are in a position to apply to re-join the Halifax Sunday League after an absence over the last couple of years.

"We see this as essential to be able to give our talented juniors, of whom on the Shelf side will also be part of the transition, their first steps into senior cricket.

"We hope that all clubs support our application in the current electronic vote that the league sent out a couple of weeks ago."