SARISBURY Athletic will remain in the second tier of local Southern Electric Premier League cricket next season, despite winning the Division 2 championship at the first attempt this summer.
They snatched the title in a dramatic finale when they beat Old Tauntonians & Romsey by two runs in the very last over of the season on September 1.
But automatic promotion into the ECB Premier Division has eluded Sarisbury as their compact ground at Allotment Road does not meet the SPL’s accreditation criteria.
It means a reprieve for Bournemouth, who finished bottom of the Premier Division, as neither Sarisbury Athletic nor Rowledge, who finished runners-up, have the necessary accreditation in place to be promoted.
Allotment Road falls short of the five strips on a square with a minimum 50-yard boundary line – a mandatory requirement for all ECB Southern Electric Premier League ground.
Sarisbury’s reaction to the decision is positive.
“The club is working with Fareham Borough Council to find a way in which they can extend part of the boundary by five yards to meet Premier League standards,” said club spokesman Andy Oliphant.
“It is hoped that if everything works out, the new boundary will be in place for the start of the 2013 season.
That means if they win the league again they should be able to progress to the new Premier Division – providing ground marks continue to improve.
The SEPL has redefined its structure in 2013 with the old Division 1 becoming the ECB Premier Division and so on.
The ECB league will continue in its split format, with nine weeks of mid-season allday ‘time’ cricket, with 50- over games forming the initial five weeks and the last four Saturdays of the season.
Matches in the new Divisions 1, 2 and 3 will all be 50-overs per side, as normal.
With Bournemouth staying put and no one promoted, the ECB Premier Division makeup will remain unchanged in 2013.
The SEPL has confirmed the promotions of Fawley and 2012 champions Liphook & Ripsley into the new Division 1, with OTs & Romsey and Paultons relegated.
Basingstoke & North Hants are the new faces in Division 2 after ending a 40-year association with the Thames Valley League.
Their second team are among six 2nd XIs playing in the new third division, alongside Hampshire League champions Portsmouth & Southsea, and Bashley (Rydal) II, who finished runners-up.