The 2012 season will be a momentous affair for Selkirk Cricket Club. For the first time since 1895 the club will not be taking part in the Border League and will instead play in the East of Scotland league.
The decision to leave the Border League was forced upon the club. The future of the Border League was jeopardised when Langholm abruptly informed the South of Scotland Cricket Association that they intended to resign from the Border League and joing the Eden Valley League in Cumbria. The manner and timing of Langholm’s resignation remains a matter of some regret, not least as it left little room or time for the remaining clubs to consider their options – or recruit other clubs to join the league – before other leagues compile their fixture lists for the 2012 season.
Langholm’s departure was the spark that lit a fire, prompting other clubs to rush for the exit. A six team league poses obvious problems and though Manderston expressed interest in joining it became clear that the Border League was in severe difficulty. St Boswells intimated that they wished to join the East of Scotland leagues and Kelso also expressed a desire to play more cricket at, they said, a more competitive level. That being the case, Gala and Selkirk each felt they had little choice but to apply to the East of Scotland league. So, reluctantly, did Hawick. Melrose decided not to and will reconsider their position at the end of the 2012 season.
Happily, the East of Scotland Cricket Association has been able to find homes for the Border clubs next season. Selkirk have been placed in Division 6. By comparison, St Boswells will play in Division 2, Gala in Division 3, Kelso in Division 4 and Hawick, should they accept the invitation, in Division 8.
The Border Reserve League, meanwhile, will continue to be played on Sundays. No fewer than ten clubs will take part next season, these being: Selkirk, Gala, Melrose, St Boswells, Hawick, Langholm, Kelso, Manderston, Biggar and Penicuik.
While Selkirk were keen to do what we could to “save” the Border League, it would be a mistake to dwell too long, or too morosely, upon the past. The incentive of promotion up the league ladder is something that should galvanise the club, spurring its ambition to maximise opportunities for younger players.
Clearly, playing in the Edinburgh-placed leagues will impose additional demands on the club’s resources. However these should be seen as challenges to be met, not crosses that must be borne. Approached with the proper spirit and commitment, this can be an exciting opportunity for the club and one that should be embraced, not feared. While we regret the passing of the Border League, we are excited by the possibilities of playing good, competitive cricket against fresh sets of opponents in the years to come.
Nor will our ancient rivalries and Border friendships be cast to the wayside. The Border 20/20 league will continue as it was and, as mentioned above, the Sunday league will still take the club to all its familiar destinations.
Finally, the draw for the southern section of the Murgatroyd 20/20 knock-out cup was made last night and Selkirk have a home tie against Hawick. The winners of that match will be at home against either Melrose or Kelso in the semi-final.
Selkirk cricket thrived before there was a Border League and there is no reason why it should not thrive after the Border League too.