As clubs will be aware, the Cricket Leinster Board has been reviewing competition structures & formats. This is in the context of our strategy and feedback received from the elected competition committees & the club cricket community.
In finalising our high-level approach to Open Competitions for 2023, some key objectives were to maximise the competitiveness of fixtures, encourage increased participation and reduce the aggregate volume of activity across the season.
Centralised fixture making will apply at Open Premier, Open Championship, Women’s Division One and associated cup competitions only - all other competitions will revert to the devolved, club based fixture-making process.
Premier & Championship
The IBI Corporate Finance Premier League for 2023 will be comprised of the following clubs & teams:
Balbriggan, Clontarf, Leinster, Malahide, Merrion, Railway Union, The Hills, YMCA
The IBI Corporate Finance Championship for 2023 will be comprised of the following clubs & teams:
Civil Service, Cork County, Pembroke, Phoenix, North County, North Kildare, Rush, Terenure
The Open Premier & Open Championship will therefore be 8-team leagues with 1 up/1 down at the end of the 2023 season and a play-off between the second last in the Premier and the team coming second in the Championship.
The Senior Cup competition will be played on a knock-out basis by teams in the Open Premier League & Open Championship with the first round to be played on a Saturday and subsequent rounds to be played on Sundays. Dublin University will participate in this competition rather than Cork County.
The Senior Cup Final will be played on a Saturday.
Senior T20 Cup
The Senior T20 Alan Murray Cup competition will be played as multiple games per day across three weekends leading to a Finals Day.
Dublin University will also participate in this competition which will all be scheduled for the early part of the season.
Second XI Premier - Division 20
The Open Second XI Premier League will remain ‘as-is’ with the addition that the highest placed 2nd XI in D4 (if not automatically promoted) to have a play-off fixture against the 8th team in the 2nd XI Premiership from 2023 onwards.
All Open Leagues from Division 4-20 inclusive will continue to be configured on an 8-team (home & away) basis. It is anticipated that the planned return to localised fixture making (below top-tier cricket), the use of refixes in league matches (as per 2022) and the greater utilisation of matches to grounds will provide the flexibility required for club fixture secretaries to accommodate 8-team leagues and 6-match round robin T20 groups across the board.
The only proviso is that the detailed competition design work prioritise some reduction in the schedule which prevailed for 2022 which was viewed as too intensive.
There will be a full transition to the use of white & pink balls (and coloured clothing). CL has a multi-year agreement with Ed Sports for the provision of standardised balls in CL competitions. We are already working with Ed Sports to ensure appropriate ball quality at each level based on the learning experience from the 2022 season and player feedback especially in respect of ball quality - more to come on this shortly including the order process.
Under 23 Open District Competition
We will also be launching a CL Under 23 Open District Competition which will be played across a number of Sundays in the early part of the season. This competition will be played on a 50-over basis and include teams representing Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin and Dublin University - further details on this will be announced shortly.
We thank all clubs for their forbearance with this process which will now pass to the Open Competitions Committee for detailed planning including teams per club, composition of leagues, cup draws etc.
We also want to thank the Open Competitions Committee (OCC) for all their work in 2022 under the experienced leadership of Michael Lowe.
It is likely that all fixtures will not be finalised until February 2023 given our dependency on International, Wolves, Interprovincial and Super Series fixture calendars (where work is still ongoing).
In terms of further club engagement, it is planned to extend the Autumn General Meeting on 24th November (at Clontarf CC) to include a specific briefing on these Open Competition plans for 2023 which will include a Q&A session and time for some key topics to be debated and explained.
Whilst this communication is focussed on our Open Competitions, we will be publishing equivalent notes on both Women’s & Youth cricket shortly.