Huddersfield Cricket League secretary Norman Clee was pleased that the majority of its members voted in favour of changes made to HCL’s oldest cup competition. 

The 101-year-old Sykes Cup, Huddersfield’s answer to the FA Cup in football, has been one of the longest-running contested competitions in the town’s sporting history. 

At the League’s AGM back in December 2020 the changes to the competition were voted on. It was a popular proposal made by the Executive with some 35 clubs out of 41 (two clubs did not submit their votes) backing the plans. 

The changes mean that the preliminary round has been removed with the top 32 clubs from the previous season in 2019 entering the draw for the 2021 competition. 

Clubs placed 33rd and below will now take part in the Oddfellows Cup. This competition had previously run between 2010 and 2015. 

On the decision to revamp the cup system Mr Clee told the League’s official podcast Castle Hill Cricket Chat: “Realistically each season I think we see the winners of the Sykes Cup coming from a select band of clubs. Many of the clubs who entered their first elevens were on a hiding to nothing really. 

“Whilst I’ve championed the point of anyone can win a cup just like in football with the FA Cup, looking at it from another angle it’s on a different playing level to the FA Cup. Basically you don’t get many cup upsets in cricket where in football you just need to look at how Chorley and Marine got on this time. 

Big appeal – pictures by SEAN DOYLE

“If you look at our Premiership in cricket those sides are always going to be too strong against some of the other teams. Even though we have scaled it back to just 32 clubs there is still a huge difference between top and bottom. So the thinking was we’d give clubs the chance to win an alternative competition. 

“Only six of our member clubs voted against the changes. The 10 lowest ranked clubs who would usually be in the Sykes Cup agreed that the changes were the right thing to do which meant we felt we’d judged it right.” 

The League recently announced its return on April 17 as reported here by Huddersfield Hub

To listen to the rest of the podcast click the link HERE