THE proposed merger between the Cherwell League and the Oxfordshire Cricket Association has been put on hold.

In a joint statement the leagues state: “We have had a number of meetings and conclude the time is not yet right for a merger.

“We have, however, identified a number of areas where the two leagues have a common need, and may be able to help or learn from each other.

“This includes ground standards, working together to produce a fully independent disciplinary panel, sharing best practice on junior development and possible commercial opportunities where we can act as one body of 200 teams rather than two of 100.”

Representatives of the two committees intend to meet regularly basis and say they are are confident of helping each other.

Brian Standish, who last year was appointed chairman of both leagues, said: “It’s a bigger job than we realised.

“If we were to do it now, we would be rushing things.”

Standish pinpointed two problem areas – playing rules and umpires.

The Cherwell play predominantly time cricket which allows for draws, while all the OCA cricket is limited overs.

While the Cherwell provide neutral umpires for the top four divisions, the OCA panel covers every division.

“I’m keen both leagues continue to work closely together,” said Standish. “But I’m not sure how the relationship will proceed.”