It will be all change in the Home Counties Premier Cricket League in 2014 following the decision of the Hertfordshire clubs to secede from the League to return to the Saracens Hertfordshire League to create their own structure. In place of North Mymms, Harpenden and relegated Potters Bar and Welwyn Garden City, Division 1 of the League will comprise Henley, Slough, Banbury, Burnham, High Wycombe, Tring Park and Oxford (2013 Division 2 West Champions) plus Aston Rowant, Gerrards Cross and Harefield.
Division 2 East is now abolished and henceforward Division 2 West will be simply be Division 2 comprising clubs drawn from the Thames Valley Cricket League and the Cherwell League.
To compound matters, following an exodus of players and plans to purchase their ground, Farnham Royal are stepping down from Division 2 to rejoin Division 3 of the TVCL.
All this means that Amersham (TVCL Division 1 Champions) and Horspath (Cherwell League Division 1 Champions) together with Finchampstead, Chesham and Shipton Under Wychwood will move up to Division 2 of the HCPCL whilst relegated Falkland are given a reprieve and stay up.
The silver lining for the Henley Second XI is that despite finishing bottom of Division 1 of the TVCL, they will retain their place in Division 1.
Henley CC Secretary, Michael Roberts, told the Herald: “It is a real shame that the Herts clubs have decided to go it alone. It may prove to be a case of act in haste and repent at leisure, but there it is, and we must get on with things as they now are. We never minded travelling over to Hertfordshire, and over the years, clubs like Welwyn, Radlett, Harpenden, Bishops Stortford and North Mymms have proved to be excellent opposition. In the short term, it might dilute the level of competition in Division 1 of the HCPCL but as the League settles down and the clubs that have moved up in the respective divisions come to terms with the standard and demands and adapt accordingly, it will be business as usual. For our Second XI, it is an opportunity to regroup, build on some youthful promise and come back stronger in 2014”.