The npower Village Cup 2009 gets underway this Sunday with a renewed mission to promote and encourage the true essence of traditional village cricket.
New competition rules introduced for the first time this season have redefined eligibility criteria for players and clubs. This means that participating teams cannot compete in the premier division of their local league or play in the ECB Knock Out cup. On an individual basis, no players can receive payment or play league cricket for another club in the same season.
"We want to encourage true village teams and players to enter the npower Village Cup and we know that in the past some sides have chosen not to get involved because of the presence of bigger and better resourced clubs," explained John Stern, editor of The Wisden Cricketer magazine, which organises and administers the competition.
"This is a competition aimed solely at village cricketers so it’s important that we retain the essence of village cricket, which is in danger of being squeezed out by a more professional approach to the recreational game. The spirit of the competition is about local cricketers playing for their local village and the new rules will encourage that to happen," said Tim Percival of competition sponsor npower.
In response to the new approach, dozens of villages have entered the competition for the first time, joining hundreds of other teams from across England, Wales and Scotland.
Typifying the first time entrants for the 2009 season are clubs from West Tanfield in North Yorkshire, Bidford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, Dyhram & Hinton, Gloucestershire, Damersham in Hampshire and Buckland Monachorum from Devon.
At stake for all clubs is the chance to play at the most famous cricket ground in the world. Lord's will once again host the final, courtesy of MCC, on Monday 14 September, allowing players the ultimate privilege of experiencing its unique atmosphere and unrivalled sense of occasion.
Supporters and media can follow the progress of the 2009 npower Village Cup online at www.thewisdencricketer.com, while full details of npower's range of cricket sponsorships can be viewed at www.npower.com/cricket
Notes for Editors:
1. npower, sponsors of the 2009 npower Ashes Series, is one of Britain's largest electricity suppliers and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 6.6 million customers across the UK.
2. npower sponsors the Test Match Series in England, Women's Test Series and the Twenty20 Cup.
Npower, sponsors of the 2009 npower Ashes Series, is one of Britain's largest electricity suppliers and supplies gas, electricity and related services to 6.6 million customers across the UK.
RWE npower has been awarded the prestigious CommunityMark from Business in the Community (BITC). npower is the only utility business, amongst 21 other companies in the UK, to receive this accolade. The CommunityMark is a new BITC standard which has been created to recognise companies that are good investors in local communities and who have brought about real and positive changes.
The npower Active programme, which is run in partnership with the English Federation of Disability Sport, has been awarded a prestigious 'Silver Big Tick' by Business in the Community.
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