Hertfordshire cricket clubs have voted to leave the Home Counties Premier Cricket League and set up two new county divisions in 2015.

Clubs have told Hertfordshire league officials that they can no longer afford the time or money to travel long distances to neighbouring counties.

The Herts teams plan to remain in the Home Counties Premier League next season but, to comply with the League’s constitution, they must give one year’s notice to leave.

The HCPL committee have called a general meeting on November 13 with the possibility of kicking out Hertfordshire sides ahead of the 2014 campaign.

However, for that motion to be carried a two-thirds majority vote is required.

With 13 Hertfordshire clubs in the 30-team league structure it is an unlikely outcome.

Tony Johnson, chairman of the Hertfordshire Cricket board, explained. “Two of the big reasons this has happened are the cost of money and cost of time.

“Players want to be tested at the highest level and while that is understandable it is not always sustainable.”

Home Counties chairman Raymond Wood said the HCPL committee is concerned the integrity of their league would be compromised should the Herts clubs compete in next season’s competition.

He added: “We are worried the season could become a bit of a fiasco.

“I am not suggesting clubs will do anything deliberately untoward but we have seen it in the past that clubs that are going nowhere in the table have opted out of matches.

“So that would spoil the championship because relegation wouldn’t affect the Herts clubs. That is the main concern and if we are going our separate ways then why wait a whole year to do it?

“But we would like to come to an amicable arrangement with all involved.”

In Division One of the Home Counties League clubs receive a grant from the England and Wales Cricket Board of around £2,000. In Division Two East and West, which are the feeder divisions, the sides do not get anything.

Johnson added: “The cost of having a team in those divisions is significant for a lot of clubs. The time getting to the games is an issue as well and that is why a Hertfordshire league is being considered.”

A meeting of the leading 25 Herts League clubs took place on Monday and they voted 19-5 in favour of establishing the two county leagues. The planned breakaway would consist of a Premier Division and a Championship Division above the existing 14 division structure. However, the two tiers would not be exclusive to Hertfordshire sides.

Johnson said: “There are a number of teams already in our league structure from outside Hertfordshire.

“So it will not only be confined to Herts teams.”

It is hoped the new divisions will help the development of younger players by strengthening the ECB ‘cricket network’ – a link between the counties, clubs and leagues.

Johnson says certain clubs have focused on signing former professional players rather than developing their own young cricketers.

He thinks that is an unsustainable strategy which ultimately proves too costly for many clubs.

A criticism of creating the Herts Premier League is the quality of the two divisions will be devalued without the likes of Henley, Banbury and other successful clubs.

Johnson said: “It is indisputable that if our clubs pull out of the Home Counties League then clearly the opportunity to play against the three or four of the most successful sides will not be there.

“But we are looking to develop what is going on in Hertfordshire and the county is behind this as well.”

He added: “What Hertfordshire want is younger players competing against other young players to get into the county side.

“So the quality can be there and young successful cricketers can be produced.”

When the Herts teams depart the Home Counties Premier League, Wood says there is already a plan in place.

He explained: “We will only have two divisions. The ECB don’t have a problem with that and they are quite satisfied with the strength of the Home Counties so it won’t affect our status with the ECB.

“There will be a first and second division and that will be it.”