ALLENDALE Cricket Club has confirmed plans for its first team to leave the West Tyne League.

The ambitious club announced on its social media page that it will apply for membership of the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League.

The decision was made at an extraordinary meeting last week, when a good turn-out of members were asked to vote following a presentation by the club’s committee.

The statement added: “A strong majority voted in favour of the change. Allendale first XI will therefore be applying to the NTCL for entrance into the league for the 2019 season.”

The 2017 West Tyne League division one champions endured a difficult follow-up season, finishing fifth.

But this week, captain Tim Raglan said the decision was a sign of the ambition and potential of the club, which has invested in facilities in recent years.

Raglan insisted that the club’s second team would remain in the West Tyne League, and was committed to supporting the local cricket scene.

He explained: “We are very grateful to the West Tyne League. We have great memories of winning division one last year, and a lot of our players, past and present, have enjoyed playing involved.

“But we are an ambitious club and we believe we have the infrastructure to play at a higher level. This could be a new beginning for Allendale Cricket Club.”

Raglan said that if Allendale’s application to the NCTL’s division was to be accepted, the club would need to launch a substantial recruitment drive.

He added: “In terms of recruitment, if we can get the number of new players to eight, or as close to eight as possible, I think we have a great chance of having a really successful season.”

Raglan said that existing players would be able to compete for a first team place next season, but added that some would boost the ranks of the second team.

He continued: “We have a great junior set up at Allendale, and whilst we would have to bring in new players initially, we would like to see a natural conveyor belt system.

“It would be a crying shame if our promising youngsters left us to join Tynedale and other clubs playing at a higher level, so we need to do what we think is right for the club.”