How Sussex's cricket league has become a world record-breaker

There was a big gathering at the league's annual meeting
There was a big gathering at the league's annual meeting

Sussex is now the home of the world’s largest adult cricket league – with its 335 participating teams across 34 divisions.

The inaugural Sussex Cricket League annual meeting was held at the 1st Central County Ground where the integration of the East Sussex Cricket League, Mid Sussex Cricket League, West Sussex Invitation Cricket League and the Sussex Premier Cricket League was completed.

The four leagues came together under a single playing structure ahead of the 2018 season but continued to play under their own league rules. Monday’s annual meeting confirmed that the 140 member clubs that make up the unified Sussex Cricket League will now all operate under the same rules and regulations.

Years in the making, the meeting also saw the election of the executive committee and sub-committees and decided a number of playing conditions.

Format and start times were the principal items on the agenda, with the following conditions being voted in:

* Premier Division and Division 2 - Will continue with split season format (nine win/lose/draw matches and nine limited overs matches). Premier will start their matches at 11.30am, with Division 2 starting at 12.30pm.

* Division 3 and 4 – Will now play limited overs cricket all season, which will be 45 overs a side and start at 12.30pm

* Division 5 & below – All sides will play 40 overs a side all season and start at 1pm.

Other playing conditions, rules and regulations will be finalised by the executive committee and distributed to clubs in due course.

The Adult Leagues Group (ALG), formed of representatives from the four previous leagues and other key stakeholders in Sussex Cricket, have worked for a number of years to bring recreational cricket in the county to this point.

The Players' Survey, which was distributed across the whole league network during the 2018 season, saw 1,700 responses regarding the formats, start times and other playing conditions across the leagues.

It is by far the largest piece of insight that recreational cricket in Sussex has ever produced and the results were used to inform the thinking of the ALG, to provide recommendations for voting at the annual meeting.

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Gary Stanley, the appointed chair of the Sussex Cricket League, stated: “What Sussex Cricket and the recreational league clubs have achieved only really struck me when I saw us all in the same room for the first time on Monday.

“That we are all part of one league, individually and collectively under the Sussex Cricket umbrella, is a remarkable achievement, but the most exciting thing is that the foundation is now there to take recreational cricket in Sussex forward in leaps and bounds.”

Chris Coleman, head of community cricket at Sussex Cricket, added: “I am delighted the Sussex Cricket League is now formally constituted and set up to give more players the format of cricket they want to play.

“Sussex Cricket continues to strive to improve the experience people have watching, playing and being inspired by cricket across the county and I feel this is another step forward in this regard.”

The Sussex Cricket League has a new twitter account - @SussexCricketLg – and the accounts for West Sussex (@WSICL), East Sussex (@cricketescl) and Mid Sussex (@midsussexcl) will be deactivated. The league also has a presence on Facebook.

What do you think of the new set-up? Will it be a success? Email sport.sussex@jpress.co.uk with your views