The tightening of the rules regarding overseas players has not stopped Foster’s Halifax League club Warley from recruiting a South African-based player for 2015.
Graham Kinsey, 19, has a British passport and league official Peter Taylor, who deals with registrations, says there are no issues over him playing.
Kinsey has been recruited via former Warley batsman Ian Shaw, now a cricket development officer in Scotland.
He is one of four new signings at the top-flight club as Warley look to cover the loss of three players for at least part of next season.
The other new captures are batsman and occasional bowler Ben Schofield from Barkisland, left-arm spinner Dan Syme from Sowerby St Peters and batsman Andy Heptinstall, who is likely to be added to last season’s league and Crossley Shield-winning second team.
Quick bowler Luke Duckitt has gone travelling to Australia for 12 months and wicketkeeper Matthew Whitworth and middle-order batsman and change bowler Liam Keywood are at university.
Much of the focus will be on Kinsey after league chiefs pushed through stricter eligibility criteria at the league’s AGM in November in a further attempt to keep the league all-amateur. There have long been rumours that some clubs have paid players.
Kinsey will be the fifth overseas player at Warley in recent years. South African Brandon Ventner, Kiwis Dan Temm and Mitch Renwick and Aussie Dean Auciello have made a limited impact on the cricket field, although Temm now plays rugby union with top-flight Newcastle Falcons.
Warley chairman Rob Keywood explained how Kinsey’s signing had come about and insisted that Warley did not pay players.
“A couple of South Africans played with Ian (Shaw) in Sterling last year. They said a lad was coming over this year and was looking for a club.
“Ian said ‘does he want to play for Warley’ and asked if they would speak to him.”
Keywood said the upshot was that Kinsey would be coming over in March to stay with relatives in Liverpool and was intending to play for Warley.
“As far as I know he is a bowler who bats a bit. He’s supposed to be a decent cricketer.
“We’ve had them before (overseas amateurs) and they have been decent lads and reasonable cricketers without having a massive impact on the league.
“He will carry on the fine work done by all the previous overseas players with coaching in schools.”
When asked if Warley would be paying him Keywood said: “Absolutely not. We haven’t got any money!”
Keywood, a former trophy-winning first team skipper and still a very effective second team bowler, believes the Halifax League may be making too big an issue over imports.
He said more and more youngsters were travelling overseas - his son Liam, Duckitt and a third Warley player Liam Senior were examples - and it was not unreasonable for them to want to test their skills elsewhere.
“Any lad wanting to come here on holiday and have a game of cricket in the Halifax League now generally can’t.
“You can in the Huddersfield League and Bradford League with a tier five youth mobility visa.
“Halifax League officials see it as a back door route to sign overseas players but more lads are keen to travel.
“They should accept that some people just want to come over here for a holiday and play some cricket.
“There are no contracts, no money and no air fares.”