DRAKES League cricket has been given the green light to start on time.
Unless there’s a further deterioration in weather, the 2013 season will start a fortnight tomorrow, Saturday, April 20, as scheduled.
League Chairman Trevor Atkinson listened to concerns from some clubs before the Executive ruled to leave things to go ahead.
An Executive statement reads: “Following various comments made by several clubs at the Council meeting, the Executive held lengthy discussions regarding the potential readiness of grounds for the opening week’s fixtures.
“The outcome of the discussion was that it was too early to cancel week one, particularly in view of the improved weather forecast.
“We now urge all clubs to make strenuous efforts to ensure their grounds are ready for the scheduled start.
“Obviously, should there be significent deterioration in the weather, then contingecy plans are in place to take appropriate action.”
Realistically, clubs have been unable to work on the grounds throughout the entire month of March (when traditionally the bulk of preparation is carried out) and League champions Hoylandswaine, Shepley, Lascelles Hall, Slaithwaite, Golcar, Shelley and Denby were just some of the clubs who expressed concern as to whether they could get their grounds ready in time.
League treasurer Bruce Heath told members that despite the weather hitting the annual dinner hard in February, which forced a significant number of absences, the deficit on the evening was only around £600.
This was thanks largely to the clubs who were unable to attend still paying 50% of their ticket money, for which the League expressed their gratitude.
Club reps were reminded that public liability insurance is due by April 13, and Administration secretary Norman Clee said that six clubs are still to provide documentation.
The four new clubs this season, Almondbury Wesleyans, Denby, Moorlands and Denby Dale were all welcomed, and Executive secretary Stephen Sykes revealed the League would reach their full expansion complement next season when four more clubs will be admitted. The vote in favour was 26-7.
He apologised for the delay in the availability of this year’s handbooks, but said they would (hopefully) by available on April 11, when they will be handed out at the Junior League pre-season meeting at Meltham.
Umpires Association secretary David Haikings told the meeting around 40 umpires would be available every week this season, but that is more than 10 short of the requirement. They will be discussing with other leagues to see if they have any spare capacity.
However, he added the Association were very unhappy over a new rule which allows clubs to get away with paying umpires a £15 ‘turning-up’ fee should the game not go beyond 10 overs.
“Umpires, players and officials can be there for the majority of the day without getting 10 overs in, because of the stop-start manner of some matches,” said Haikings.
“When the League are so desperate for umpires, a rule restricting them to just £15 when they may have to be there virtually all day, is hardly likely to attract new members.”
On a brighter note he did add that 21 people had come forward to attend an introductory course.