MEMBER clubs of the Westmorland Cricket League (WCL) have voted unanimously to support a statement of intent which effectively means the competition will join the sport's national pyramid structure.

At an extraordinary general meeting at Burneside CC last week, the league's 26 clubs agreed to back a move which will give the highest placed Cumbrian club at the end of this season the option of promotion to Division One of the Cumbria League, which was formerly the North Lancashire League.

Further, at the end of the 2020 season, the WCL champions will, if Lancashire based, have the option of joining Division 1a of the Palace Shield, two tiers below the Northern Premier League.

In a statement, the WCL said the move had come after more than five years of talks on the issue between the various leagues involved and the Lancashire Cricket Foundation and Cumbria Cricket Board.

"At the meeting, it was recognised that it is important to maintain the integrity of existing leagues and competitions whilst satisfying the ambitions of some clubs to progress towards playing at a higher level," said the statement.

The current WCL was formed in 1975 and covers a large geographical area from Coniston in the north to Forton in the south and from Cartmel in the west to Ingleton and Sedbergh School in the east.

The League currently has 26 clubs with teams playing across four divisions, and the 2019 campaign starts a week on Saturday, April 27, with champions Carnforth setting out to defend their title.