The Huddersfield Cricket League has had a rebrand and is moving on after one of the longest sponsorships in local sport.

Known as the Drakes Huddersfield League since Golcar-based F. Drake & Co first signed a sponsorship deal in 1981, the Drake name has been synonymous with the 125-year-old league.

With the passing of James Haigh MBE and wife Christine and a subsequent takeover of the company, the sponsorship ended three years ago, with an Edward Owens taking on the sponsorship until 2021.

However, the league decided to retain the Drakes name as a mark of respect. The couple’s son Josh was made a life member in tribute to his family’s long-standing and valuable support.

But now with the Covid-19 pandemic meaning a reset in many walks of life, the league has decided on a rebrand. The league will be known as the Huddersfield Cricket League and there’s been a minor tweak to the logo accordingly.

A statement on the league website says: “Moving forward and adapting to the changing climates is always at the forefront of the committee at the Huddersfield Cricket League.

“So today we proudly announce a small, but essential change to the league’s branding, by introducing a new logo to signify a slightly amended league name.

“For over 125 years, the Huddersfield Cricket League has prided itself in offering a high standard of cricket amongst its many clubs and as an independent league, has been a proud stage for many fine homegrown and overseas cricketers to develop, hone skills and, most importantly, entertain.

“The world is evolving quickly and retaining our status as one of the best independent cricket leagues is our utmost priority.”

League chairman Trevor Atkinson told Huddersfield Hub: “The league will always be indebted to the Haigh family and for three years, out of respect for them, we kept the Drakes name.

“The Haigh family had sponsored the league since 1981 which was fantastic. However, as Mr and Mrs Haigh passed away and their company doesn’t exist anymore the sponsorship has ended.”

Mr Atkinson said it was time for the Huddersfield Cricket League to move forward. He stressed, however, that sponsorship was vital to ensure the league was recognised as a professional league at the ECB.

On the possibility of a new sponsor, Mr Atkinson said: “I think we have a duty to all clubs to run the league as profitably as we can and bringing in sponsors does that.”