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Last week's figures about the decline in participation in English club cricket set alarm bells ringing although they were only confirmation of what many had been saying for years. The ECB has promised to take action to reverse the decline, but for some clubs - often with rich histories dating back decades - it may already be too late. In the Sunday Telegraph, Nick Hoult looks at the stories of various village and town sides that have hit hard times and speaks to those trying to balance the books and keep a vital part of the game alive.
Close geographically to Thixendale but a world away in terms of cricket is the Lancashire League, which once could rival county cricket for crowds and star overseas players. Now many clubs are faced with big debts and the days of signing overseas stars such as Allan Donald (Rishton), Learie Constantine (Nelson) and a young Shane Warne (Accrington) are long gone.
"It is in the league's rules that you have to sign an overseas player but you have to pay them a salary of over £5,000 for the summer, an air fare, you can't get car insurance for the summer for less than £1,500 and then you have their accommodation costs. Overall it is about £10,000 which could easily pay for three level three coaches doing 100 sessions a year with the kids," Michael Brown, the chairman of Burnley Cricket Club, said.
In an extensive interview with BBC Sport, Joe Root and Gary Ballance reminisce about their early years in Yorkshire's cricket set-up and the time they spent as house-mates in a village called Idle. Root, a practical joker according to Ballance, recalls an incident involving Ryan Sidebottom and a sock that paid a quirky tribute to the legend of the Yorkshire Snipper.
Root grins knowingly, then adds: "The worst one was when I did it to (veteran fast bowler) Ryan Sidebottom after dropping two catches off him. At the end of the day's play he was sitting next to me in the dressing-room and was already absolutely furious.
"Then he got out of the shower, pulled his first sock on right up to the top of his thigh and just blew up. All the lads were trying not to look at him and laugh. I just knew I had to get out of there or I would be in a bit of pain."
Ayslum seekers to Australia have to undergo mandatory detention to assess health and security issues. Most of them are smuggled into the country via boats from Indonesia, but the journey isn't the safest and deportation is only a phone call away. Phil Mercer of the BBC meets a group of Tamils from Sri Lanka who have taken to the cricket field as a way to escape the dread they feel about going back home.
"It helps them to almost feel that they are part of the community they want to be a part of," said Deenu Rajaratnam, the Sydney league manager for Last Man Stands, which runs the global T20 competition.
"Here they are getting a chance to actually live like anyone else on the field. They are equal, they are competing. They have the same chance of hitting a six, or a four or of getting a wicket as the opposition."
Lalit Modi talks to Business Today's Suveen Sinha about how he went about establishing the IPL, and reveals some of his more innovative plans for the tournament that did not come to be. Featuring shrunk 30-yard circles, heart-rate monitors, and ball-by-ball commentary on Twitter, among other things.
There were also suggestions in favour of reducing the 30-yard circle to make the game pacier and give batsmen and fielders something else to think about. Eventually, though, that idea was scrapped because I didn't want to tamper with the fabric of the sport. Then there was the idea of giving online viewers an option to choose from 12 different camera angles on YouTube. I remember the meeting in San Francisco with YouTube's top bosses ...
Britwell Salome Cricket Club in Oxfordshire has been forced to ban the hitting of sixes after an angry neighbour threatened to take it to court. Diana Attenborough, 69, complained that it was dangerous if the cricket balls fell within the grounds of her home at the end of the club's grounds.
The club is now enforcing a "local rule" after consulting the Oxfordshire Cricket Association. The new rule means that if a player hits a six, no runs will be scored. The club, which survives on donations and fundraising events, has also had to spend over £4,000 on installing a 50ft high net. After using up all its savings, the club discovered that Attenborough had put her home up for sale.
"We play on average two games a week for five months a year and have been in the village for over 85 years, in all that time we have not had any complaints other than those from Diana," Nigel Joyner, the club chairman, told the Daily Mail. "It means we've had to use up all of our funds, money we had hoped to use to replace our tractor so we can cut our grass and build a new shed as the old one is falling down. We understand she is concerned and a ball has gone over and smashed a pane once before which we covered the cost for but it is odd that she has now put her house on sale."
"Cricket is a way for many people to keep fit and socialise, it's a shame how one person can ruin that for the others," said Ross Joyner, the club captain. "There seems to be a lot of health and safety cases being taken to the extreme across the board and it's a bit worrying if that continues in this way."
The club initially installed a 15ft high net after first receiving the complaint but balls continued to land in Attenborough's garden. Attenborough, whose son is a barrister, has given the club a month to demonstrate that the problem has been solved by the new measures.