Cricket merger deal not done

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Northern Premier League clubs have agreed in principle in favour of a merger with the Palace Shield – but it is not yet a done deal. (writes Steve Simpson)

The ball has now been thrown back in the court of the Palace Shield clubs to say whether they are in favour of a go-ahead at their annual meeting.

If a merger was agreed then promotion and relegation between the two leagues would apply in time for the start of the 2018 season.

But one potential sticking point has emerged and that concerns Cumbrian clubs Barrow and Penrith, who currently compete in the Northern Premier League.

Some Palace Shield clubs are said to have reservations of making such a lengthy away trip.

And another potential problem regarding a merger is that the Lancashire League may make overtures again to invite NPL clubs to take part in their set-up.

A previous attempt fell through after some NPL clubs showed initial interest about joining.