OXFORDSHIRE’S top clubs have voiced their frustrations over a Cherwell League ruling preventing some cricketers from playing in the final weeks of the season.

Increasing participation in the sport is a hot topic following England’s World Cup triumph.

But some of the county’s clubs feel people are being denied the chance to turn out on a Saturday.

This is down to a rule that states, for the final two weeks, no person who has featured in four or more Home Counties Premier League games is eligible to play in the Cherwell League unless they have played eight or more times in that competition.

The law was brought in to stop clubs strengthening their second teams.

It affects six local clubs – Aston Rowant, Banbury, Horspath, Oxford, Oxford Downs and Thame Town – who are all calling for change.

Rowant bowler Dom Whatman often plays for his club’s first and second teams.

While the rule has not stopped him this season, he says teammates are being denied a game tomorrow.

“It just needs to be looked at,” he said. “We’ve got four or five guys who have paid £150 subscription to play cricket and we’re saying to them ‘sorry, you can’t play this week’.

“It’s just frustrating.”

The clubs were able to fulfill all of their fixtures last week, but 15 Oxford Downs players were affected by the rule.

First team skipper George Sandbach said: “I just think it’s appalling that they are stopping people from playing.

“I understand why the rules are in place, but it just frustrates me.

“I have contacted the Cherwell League, but all I get is a reply with the rules.”

Two Banbury players find themselves without a game tomorrow and Lloyd Sabin, who captains the first team, is less than impressed.

“It’s a bit of a joke,” he said.

“Both of them are committed cricketers, just playing week-in, week-out.

“They’ve not won games on their own, they just perform like any normal second team player would.”

Their thoughts are echoed by the first team captains of Horspath, Oxford and Thame.

“If people are putting out what they perceive to be their full strength sides running down the club, I’m all for making sure people get a game,” said Horspath’s Will Eason.

“Hopefully a little bit of common sense prevails.”

Oxford’s Jamie Perkin added: “If cricketers are losing out on games then the rules should be changed.

“There could be players that have to play in the Home Counties to help the club out, but are punished for it.”

Thame’s Michael Beard concurred.

“It requires a degree of common sense,” he said. “If it’s someone who has clearly played a mix of first and second team, it seems unfair.

“If people can’t get a game they will start losing interest.”

Clubs are able to voice their concerns at three forums held over September 10-12.

Cherwell League general secretary Ian Murdoch said: “The current regulation has been in place in its current format for two years.

“It does place a management task on the clubs with regard to managing their player roster, but the evidence of last weekend, when all clubs were able to fulfill all their fixtures, suggests that most are managing this well.”

Law changes can only be made at the annual general meeting, with the backing of two thirds of the league’s clubs.