Cricket: Leycett plummet after suffering player points penalty
LEYCETT have been relegated after becoming the latest club to suffer a points deduction for fielding an ineligible player last season.
The Park Terrace side accepted a 129-point punishment after an internal investigation found that all-rounder Ali Khan had been playing for Marshes Cricket Club in a London league on Sundays.
That means the winning draw Division One Leycett claimed on the final day of the season to avoid relegation is now irrelevant.
However, similar allegations levelled at second tier sides Moddershall and Barlaston have proved to be unfounded.
Leycett's involvement means eight clubs have now been punished for breaking league regulations which state they cannot field a player who has figured for a team in another league in the season.
Cheadle were the first to be punished during the summer when former Derbyshire all-rounder Garry Park was banned for the rest of the season in June after playing for Lancashire League side Rochdale.
Cheadle were also deducted 76 points – the number they gained in the matches Park had played following his return to the club. They were eventually relegated to Division One.
Further investigations were held towards the end of the summer after six more clubs came under the spotlight.
Premier Division Little Stoke have since been docked 126 points, although they finished in the relegation zone and were demoted anyway.
Division One pair Blythe and Norton were also hit with 124 and 149 penalties for their involvement in proceedings.
Norton have dropped down a division, although Blythe now keep their place in the second tier as a consequence of Leycett's punishment.
Betley, who only won one match all season, have also been spared demotion.
Newcastle and Hartshill were stripped of their Division Two title after being found guilty and being 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.
That saved Rode Park and Lawton from the drop after they had wound up the campaign in the second drop spot.
League manager Keith Tunnicliffe declined to comment on the situation at this stage.
However, the matter is set to take centre stage next Thursday when it will be debated at the league's annual meeting at Burslem Cricket Club.
League officials have proposed that the rule be scrapped for the 2013 season, which the 48 member clubs will vote on at the meeting.