A major development for cricket in South Wales has been announced at the SWALEC Stadium, home to Glamorgan Cricket. Starting this season, the top cricket clubs within the region will come together to compete in the brand new SWALEC Premier Cricket League.
Under the ECB Premier League umbrella and one of 26 similar League formats running throughout England and Wales, the SWALEC Premier Cricket League has been developed to provide a high level of competition at club level and to help bridge the gap between club and county cricket.
Alan Hamer, Chief Executive, Glamorgan Cricket explained:
“We are delighted to be partners in the new SWALEC Premier Cricket League. For many years within South Wales, two strong cricket leagues have competed within their own regional silos – East and West - with an inevitable disparity between the top and bottom teams, resulting in many non-competitive matches.
"Now, for the first time, the top ten clubs from both these regions will unite to form the SWALEC Premier Cricket League, with two Glamorgan players being assigned to each club during the playing season. The new competition will not only provide a focus on top quality club cricket, but will also provide valuable competitive play for our players and act as a breeding ground for the Glamorgan stars of the future. This is an important initiative in the development of the sport in South Wales.”
Starting on Saturday, 1 May 2010 with weekly matches through to Saturday, 28 August 2010, the League will initially be contested by Ammanford, Cardiff, Newport, Pontarddulais, Port Talbot Town, St. Fagans, Sully Centurions, Swansea, Usk and Ynysygerwn.
The bottom two clubs at the end of the season will be relegated from the SWALEC Premier Cricket League and return to their relevant feeder league (Glamorgan & Monmouthshire Cricket League or the South Wales Cricket Association). Likewise, the two champion clubs from the feeder league will be invited to play in the SWALEC Premier Cricket League in the following season.
The Premier League has secured a three-year sponsorship agreement with SWALEC, part of the Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) Group, one of the UK’s largest energy companies and already a supporter of cricket in Wales through its sponsorship of Glamorgan Cricket’s stadium in Sophia Gardens.
Alan Williams, Director of Energy Sales, SWALEC, commented:
“As a leading energy supplier in Wales for decades, we are committed to support the communities that support us. Sponsorship is one way for us to do that. Our aim is to foster sporting talent and increase participation and enjoyment in the sports we support. We hope that the SWALEC Premier Cricket League will provide a real stepping stone between club and county cricket and provide fans with the opportunity to watch top quality cricket every week during the season.”
Matthew Maynard, Director of Cricket, Glamorgan Cricket, welcomed the launch of the new League:
“The SWALEC Premier Cricket League is a welcome addition to the cricket calendar and will benefit all levels of the game. The competition provides the top layer for club cricket in the region and we know that club cricketers will aspire to play at League level. It’ll provide an environment for players to develop and to be identified if they perform well. It is vital to the future success of Glamorgan Cricket that we have this layer of competition in place.”
A SWALEC Twenty20 Competition will be introduced in May with the Finals being held at the SWALEC Stadium on Sunday, 1 August. The winner of this competition will represent the SWALEC Premier Cricket League in the national Cockspur Rum Club Twenty20 Competition, the finals of which will be held at the Rose Bowl, Hampshire and be televised live on Sky Sports.
Paul Morgan, Chairman, SWALEC Premier Cricket League, added:
“We have been working towards joining the ECB Premier League for a number of years and are delighted to launch this season. This competition now provides the top competitive layer for club cricket in South Wales and can only benefit the sport. Bringing together the top teams from the East & West should ensure that all matches are competitive and currently every fixture reads like a Welsh Cup Final. We thank SWALEC for their generous support and look forward to a great season ahead.”