IN a revolutionary move, half the matches in the Home Counties Premier League (HCPL) this summer will be limited-overs affairs.

At the league’s annual meeting on Thursday, the clubs voted strongly in favour of a proposal to split their season between 50-overs limited overs matches and the existing longer games, in which there are still draws.

By agreeing to this proposal, put forward by Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City, the league have avoided a possible breakaway from Hertfordshire clubs, who expressed their concern that games were too long and the cost of providing meals was prohibitive.

The rules for the limited-overs matches, including start times, have yet to be drawn up.

When they are finalised, an extraordinary general meeting will need to be held to approve the changes.

The exisiting fixtures list will not alter, but no decision has been made about which will be 50-overs games and which will be the traditional fixtures played over 120 overs (Divison 1) and 110 (Division 2 East and Division 2 West).

The format was welcomed by Ian Crosby, the captain of Oxford who were relegated from Divison 1 last season.

“Having limited overs matches will level the playing field,” he said.

“It will prevent sides having their ‘pro’ bowling throughout an innings and might encourage clubs to develop their own young players. It can only be a good thing.”

Oxford are one of five Oxfordshire clubs in the league.

Banbury and Henley play in Division 1, with Aston Rowant and Great Tew alongside Oxford in Division 2 West.

One other change sees Peter Tomlin, the former Cherwell League secretary, taking over over as HCPL secretary from Roger Garrini who has held the post since the league was formed in 1999.