Cricket: Clubs vote to scrap players' rule
NORTH Staffs and South Cheshire League clubs have voted to scrap the rule which cast a shadow over last season.
Players were prevented from featuring in any other league – a regulation which was carried by 44 of the 48 clubs just 12 months ago.
However, eight clubs suffered points deductions for flouting rules after players were found to have been featuring in other competitions on Sundays.
Premier Division sides Cheadle and Little Stoke, Division One trio Leycett, Blythe and Norton, plus third tier Newcastle and Hartshill, Woore and Eccleshall all fell foul of the rule this summer.
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In a bid to clarify the situation, league officials balloted clubs proposing to scrap the ruling ahead of the 2013 campaign.
And at last night's annual meeting, at Burslem Cricket Club, the move was rubber-stamped with 27 voting in favour and 18 against.
Three clubs failed to submit their ballot papers by the required time.
It means from next season, players are free to perform in any other league, as well as the NSSCL, and not be classed as ineligible.
Clubs are still only allowed to register and play one first-class contracted player or overseas player, with no replacements allowed.
The transfer window which runs in the last week of May remains, as does the rule that no new player can be registered after June 30 without the league manager's permission.
Cheadle were the first to be punished last season, and were docked 76 points after then-Derbyshire all-rounder Garry Park played in the Lancashire League for Rochdale. Cheadle lost their battle against relegation.
Little Stoke lost 126 points, although they finished in the relegation zone and were demoted anyway.
Division One Blythe and Norton were also hit with 124 and 149 penalties for their involvement in proceedings.
Norton dropped down a division, although Blythe kept their place in the second tier after Leycett were docked 129 points.
Newcastle and Hartshill were stripped of their Division Two title after being found guilty and hit with a 148-point deduction.
Ashcombe Park were subsequently promoted as champions, with Alsager moving up into second place and making the step up.
Bottom-of-the-table Eccleshall had 165 points chalked off, while the 40 points docked from Woore ensured they were relegated back into Division Three after just one season.