CHANGING the Manorlands Plate from a T20 competition to the Hundred format has paid dividends big time.

What is seen as the Mewies Solicitors Craven League’s other knockout competition after the Wynn Cup and Cowling Cup only attracted seven entries last year.

But switching each innings to 100 balls rather than 120 has more than doubled the Plate entries to 15.

“I am absolutely delighted,” said Craven League secretary Peter Foster, whose brainchild the change of format was.

“I wanted to put some interest back into grass-roots cricket after two years in which we have lost players to golf and we have lost players to families.

“I wanted players to feel that excitement again about the start of the cricket season.”

Foster watched several Hundred games on television last summer, but it was his visit to Headingley to watch a match in the flesh that changed his mind over the potential of the Hundred.

He said: “I am a traditionalist at heart, so I was sceptical beforehand, but that all changed once the match got under way with the atmosphere and excitement.

“Cricketers nowadays want to get home. They don’t want to be in the field for seven hours in a day.”

Of the 15 entries, Airedale, Bingley Congs, Gargrave, Denholme, Oakworth and Skipton CI took part last year.

However, there are nine newcomers for the competition that raises vital money for Manorlands Hospice, the Oxenhope-based Sue Ryder home.

They are Foulridge, Sutton, Wilsden, Barrowford, Haworth, Riddlesden, Keighley, Ingrow and Bradley.

Matches, which are mutually arranged before a deadline for each round, can be played in an evening or on Sundays, and teams care encouraged to raise money on matchdays for the charity.

The finals day is on Sunday, August 28 at Keighley Cricket Club.

Manorlands Plate – First round: Foulridge v Airedale, Bingley Congs v Gargrave, Sutton v Wilsden, Barrowford v Haworth, Riddlesden v Keighley, Denholme v Oakworth, Skipton CI v Ingrow. Bye: Bradley. Matches to be played before Thursday, June 30.