NORTHWICH chartered accountants Murray Smith have agreed to carry their sponsorship of the County Cricket League into the 2005 season.
Making the announcement MS senior partner Roy Ramsbottom said: 'We are delighted to be associated with such a dynamic and forward-looking league which is doing so much to develop cricket in Cheshire.'
Apart from their £6,000 financial backing, Murray Smith will go on sponsoring the Performance of the Month awards and provide the Young Player of the Year trophy as well as donating a bottle of champagne for the Fred Graham Trophy final and printing the presentation dinner menu cards.
Their backing has enabled club subscriptions to remain unchanged for 10 seasons and has enabled additional money to be spent on youth cricket.
A year after they had agreed to allow players to be paid from any source for the first time, clubs were asked at the November meeting to consider a rule barring direct payments being made from club funds.
Chairman David Humpage said the intention was to take clubs outside employment law if attempts were made to register more than one overseas player under the Kolpak regulations. Clubs would still be permitted to allow sponsors or benefactors to pay their players. The move was being made throughout the country by all ECB.
This matter will be resolved at the next management meeting at Winnington Park on January 18, together with a motion allowing clubs to register a substitute overseas player under certain conditions.
New skipper Colin Lewis topped Weaverham's bowling averages during their ill-fated debut season in the county league.
Lewis took 26 wickets at 21.2 runs and also received the Ellis Bowling Trophy. Rob McMillan was top bat - 481 runs at 26.7.
Their 2nd XI counterparts were Gordon Allen, 25 wickets at 14.68 and Richard Goodier, 463 runs at 28.9.
Top Sunday bat and bowler were Jonathan Turley and John Astles, while Sunday player of the year was Alex Stitch.
The Allen Batting Trophy went to Kevin Douglas.