Marshalls CC have called time on their 110-year association with the Bassetlaw and District Cricket League - in a move the club believe will assist the development of its younger players.
The Gainsborough-based club have been accepted to join the Lincolnshire County Cricket League setup following a period of consultation and will begin their journey at the bottom of the five tier structure.
After claiming the Bassetlaw Division Four title in 2014, a young team found the going tough last season in the next step up and their struggle was confirmed with relegation before the last game was played.
Martyn Snell, chairman of Marshalls, said change was needed to simply get players to games, with some away fixtures in the Bassetlaw league requiring a 90-minute drive and few drivers to choose from.
“We have a lot of lads at the club who are under-18 and don’t drive or have cars,” he said. “There were only three people who drove last season. By moving to the Lincolnshire league, away games will only be half an hour rather than an hour and a half, which is what they were in the Bassetlaw leagues.
“We have 15 and 16 year-old lads playing for us and we’ve got to look after them for the future of the club. It was probably a step too far for them last season but they’ve got the talent. They won the division the season before so we know we’ve got some good players, this move will help them develop.
“We could have gone in to Bassetlaw Division Eight but it wouldn’t have done them any good. They will learn more from playing in the Lincolnshire league. They will be opening the bowling and the batting, they won’t be sat watching. They’ll be playing and involved in the game. They will be at the forefront.”
He added: “We would like to introduce a second senior team to play at the weekends. We have a junior side at the moment and in two to three years’ time they will be ready to play in senior matches.”
Being a Lincolnshire club playing in a Nottinghamshire league has not been without its frustrations, but Snell hopes the change will be beneficial to the club off the field as well as on it.
“We have always fallen between the two and struggled to get funding because of it,” said the 29-year-old. “Now we’ll be a Lincolnshire side playing in a Lincolnshire league, which should help.”
Marshalls leave the Bassetlaw league after more than a century, having won 17 divisional titles - ten as Gainsborough Britannia - and three consecutive Mallen T20 Cups.
Snell added: “The switch has been muted before when we had more of the older generations on the committee and they didn’t want it. I’m 29 and the second oldest on the committee. It’s a new age and new direction for the club.”