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Merger gives town's cricket more clout

A NEW powerful cricket club has been formed with the merger of Dartford's leading two clubs. Members of Dartford CC with Halls CC have voted by an overwhelming majority to join forces next season.

Harry Bright, chairman of the new club, said: "It will look to build upon the strength of a larger membership base and a dedication to the development of cricket in north Kent."

Both clubs boast a long tradition of cricket in the area and have enjoyed healthy competition over the years. Dartford is one of the oldest cricket clubs in the country, with origins dating back to 1727. Halls does not have such a long history, but records show it was formed soon after the First World War.

The increasing time and costs involved in running the clubs have forced them to look at their long-term futures and, after an initial meeting, it became clear a merger was the way forward.

Mr Bright said: "A lengthy consultation process ensued, which benefited from the guidance and recommendations from the Kent League and its feeder leagues. Eventually a solution was found that was acceptable to all parties and the new season will commence with the enlarged club fielding at least five sides on a Saturday and at least two sides on a Sunday."

The two most senior sides will continue to play in the premier division of the 1st and 2nd XI sections of the Forester Kent League. They will retain the name of Dartford Cricket Club, as will the Sunday 1st side.

All the remaining teams will maintain a strong identification with Halls and play under the name of Dartford Halls. Two of the Saturday sides will play in the Mid-Kent League, while the other side will compete in the South Thames League. Both Dartford's Hesketh Park ground and Halls' Darenth Road venue will be used to stage matches.

The new club will also be putting a lot of emphasis of developing the area's young players and have appointed Tony Rose as head coach of the youth section.

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