The Huddersfield Cricket League will have a vote at its AGM in December to elect a new chairman. Current incumbent Trevor Atkinson will be going up against Chris Ridler from Holmfirth to see who takes the role next year.
The two candidates have set out their hopes, aims and achievements ahead of the vote.
Mr Atkinson has written an open letter to all clubs stating why he should carry on as chairman, a position he has held for a decade.
In his letter Mr Atkinson said: “This is my tenth year as your chairman and in that time much has changed. I inherited a league of 30 clubs that played in a 14 club Premiership and two eight-club Conference sections, results were published in the Huddersfield Examiner each Monday, and the League had financial reserves of £32,000.
“Without dwelling too much on the past, below is a list of some of the many achievements and changes I have led and overseen during the last decade.
“The league was increased to 38 member clubs (now 37 following the resignation of Cawthorne CC). We replaced the Conference sections with more appropriate 12-club divisions.
“We also embraced technology and moved the league into the 21st century. We improved the league website and social media and introduced electronic registration and match results systems, with the help of the Play-Cricket platform and app.
“We also have Introduced a number of new rules in the last decade.”
Other things that Mr Atkinson and his committee have brought in is the re-introduction of the Oddfellows and Earnshaw cups.
They also started a Sunday section that provides an opportunity especially for junior cricketers to experience the adult game and longer format matchplay.
Finally the league has increased its sponsorship revenues and league finances to some £58,000 with more than £18,000 of those reserves loaned back to clubs interest-free to help with the development of their facilities.
Mr Atkinson continued: “This list demonstrates how much our league has progressed under my chairmanship. Of course there is still much to do.
“I believe that in my time as chairman I have taken a team approach and applied a steady hand, keeping in mind the traditions of our league, but always having a modernising eye to the future. I have also worked to uphold the spirit of cricket and maintain good standards of conduct and behaviour.”
Mr Atkinson has a number of things he would like to change going forward which you can read here in his full open letter.
Meanwhile, his opponent Mr Ridler says he is adopting a fresher and more modern approach, believing the league has slipped below the standing of other local leagues. He wants to bring the league up to modern day standards, with new rules, a new website and ensure the league makes better use of its commercial opportunities.
The 44-year-old former managing consultant has worked in the optimising business sector for 22 years before becoming semi-retired. He now sells cricket books under the www.wisdenauction.com website. He has a collection of books worth over £300,000.
On why he wants to become chairman and challenge Mr Atkinson, he said: “Firstly I’d like to say Trevor has done an OK job as chairman. However I really think I can do a better job. I can be more proactive and really get stuck in. I have the time to do it being semi-retired.
“For too long the clubs haven’t had a real say in things. Proposals are put forward for various changes and if the exec doesn’t like it then it doesn’t get voted in.”
Mr Ridler was part of Mr Atkinson’s team in 2018-19 taking up the role as administration secretary.
He said: “It was really frustrating and it came to the point where I realised there was no point being in that role because I would never get anything passed.”
Mr Ridler departed the role in 2019 and went back to being Holmfirth secretary which he had done for the previous three years. A representative from Holmfirth put Mr Ridler’s name forward to challenge for chairman.
“Our league is a brilliant league and it has far more to offer than what it has presented up to now,” said Mr Ridler. “The league hasn’t been commercially well executed. I want to make sure clubs have cash to do things. Why have the exec got all this money and what’s it being used for? The exec shouldn’t run the clubs, it should be the clubs running the exec.”
One of the big things Ridler would like to change is the league structure.
He said: “If elected chairman at the 2021 AGM I guarantee a 12 team Premiership with no Saturday/Sunday double header league weekends. The 42 clubs of HCL will discuss and vote through at that meeting the exact structure on how to reform the league lower down the pyramid given a 12 team Premiership is put into place.
“We as a league do not debate across clubs enough, this cross club debate is something that we need to do to form the more perfect future at HCL.”
Another key change Ridler would make is to the fines system, insisting the current system is not fit for purpose.
He said: “Teams are paying way too many fines and so I would change the fine system and replace it with a ‘driving licence’ style points system. So clubs wouldn’t pay any fine until their licence is filled. This system will again be discussed with all clubs.”
All of Mr Ridler’s other ideas can be seen here on his very own website.
Mr Ridler says he is confident of winning the vote in December and added: “I’ve had lots of positive discussions with people at various clubs. They like me and what I’m proposing. Trevor will, of course, think he can win but I think it’s time for a change now.
“If we don’t push the league on it will get even more left behind.”