Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium where the day-night final will be played on October 27
Yorkshire Premier League Cricket has been officially launched and the Race to Abu Dhabi is set to begin when the first ball is bowled on April 16.
Leading figures from the England & Wales Cricket Board, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the Yorkshire Cricket Board attended a special dinner at York Cricket Club.
They joined officials of the four Premier leagues, Yorkshire League North, Yorkshire League South, North Yorkshire South Durham League and the Bradford League plus representatives of the competing clubs.
The York Senior, South Yorkshire, Halifax, Wetherby, Nidderdale and York Vale leagues, who will form the pyramids beneath the Premier Leagues, joined the celebration.
“ECB chairman Colin Graves said: “The rest of the cricket community will be watching this exciting development. The people who have worked so hard to make this happen deserve the highest praise.”
Chairman Steve Denison, who headed a strong Yorkshire County Cricket Club delegation which included Chief Executive Mark Arthur, Commercial Director Andy Dawson, Director of Cricket Martyn Moxon, Head Coach Jason Gillespie, and new coach Richard Pyrah, said: “Who would have thought this day would come. Brilliant leadership from Yorkshire CCC, Yorkshire Cricket Board and the leagues.”
Yorkshire’s fast bowler Matthew Fisher, whose club Sheriff Hutton Bridge will play in Yorkshire League North, is excited by the new set up which will see the champions of the four premier leagues meet in end of season play-offs with the final being played in Abu Dhabi on October 27.
“League cricket has been transformed,” he said. “The best playing the best is how it should be. Must be thankful to all that made it happen.”
It has taken more than two years to create the new league structure. Yorkshire Premier League Cricket chairman Alan Birkinshaw said it was a proud moment for all involved. It has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice. This is a special day for all who have made this possible. Yorkshire cricket is truly united.”
During the dinner the draw for the play-off semi-finals was made by Colin Graves and Jason Gillespie. They drew the team names from the White Rose Trophy which has been donated to Yorkshire Premier League Cricket by the officials of the now defunct under-21 competition.
The semi-final line-up will see Yorkshire League North take on Yorkshire League South at Scarborough, while the Bradford League will play North Yorkshire/ South Durham at Headingley. Both will be played on Saturday, September 17, with Sunday, September 18 as a reserve day.
The winning teams will then travel to Abu Dhabi on October 22 for the final. During their stay the two teams will practice and play in one warm-up match each against a local team before meeting in the Day/Night final in the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
During the launch dinner the guests donated £1,150 to the Yorkshire Cricket Flood Appeal.