Northern Premier League officials have welcomed the news that from 2018 there will be promotion and relegation between their competition and the Palace Shield, while at the same time maintaining their own separate identities and rules.
NPL chairman Chris Lavery said: “It goes some way towards achieving what the Lancashire and England Cricket Boards want and may be the first building-block towards a county-wide premier division at the top of a pyramid structure.
“The link strengthens the sustainability of local cricket.
“Playing different clubs will increase interest and encourage young cricketers and their ambitions.
“This historic link would not have been achieved without a great deal of hard work from both executive and a great deal of goodwill between all clubs in both leagues.”
Officials of both leagues have been keen to point out that the new arrangement does not constitute a merger.
Each league’s top tier will continue to operate autonomously and under their own rules and playing regulations.