Greater Manchester cricket given Premier League seal of approval

The Greater Manchester Cricket League (GMCL) was awarded Premier League status on Friday ahead of the 2023 season.

The announcement revealed that the JW Lees Lancashire Cricket League also was set to earn the same badge of honour.

The accreditation, given by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), represents a group of high quality leagues across the two countries and forms the top tier of club cricket.

A spokesperson for the GMCL said: “We are about to commence our eighth season and in that time, we have come a long way, but we see this accreditation as the next step for the league.

“For those clubs playing at the top end of the GMCL structure, they will be expected to meet the standards of a Premier League club.”

Shaw Cricket Club, who were promoted to the GMCL’s Premier Division in 2022 {Photo by James Weston}

The spokesperson added that teams aspiring to reach the upper reaches of the regional system will now understand the expectations in place.

The qualifications focus on local efforts by volunteers to run these clubs, and their commitment to junior cricket.

Mike Bibby, Chairman of the JW Lees Lancashire Cricket League, described the new status as a “reward” for the work put in by its member clubs.

He added: “We will continue to encourage member clubs to develop and improve.”

The news means that the number of ECB Premier Leagues in Lancashire is now four, highlighting how the North West is continuing the growth of the sport.

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