Drakes League clubs have been asked to attend a special meeting to discuss the issue of Central League floaters and a dire shortage of umpires.
It will be held on Wednesday, November 23, at Almondbury Cricket Club (7.30).
By then, the Spenser Wilson Halifax League and the Solly Sports Huddersfield Central League will have had their annual meetings – the latter being wound up.
And the Drakes League will know exactly how many of the Central clubs wish to move under their umbrella for 2017.
The meeting is to “explain a proposal for the remaining Central League clubs incorporating into our league”, say the Drakes Executive.
Clubs will have to vote on the proposal at the December annual meeting, so this has been moved back to Wednesday, December 14, to allow a three-week period for consideration.
At the meeting on November 23, the drastic shortage of umpires will also be on the agenda.
On the Central League situation, Drakes chairman Trevor Atkinson explained: “We are having to wait until the Halifax League have held their annual meeting next Tuesday, November 15, before we know the final number of Central League clubs who wish to join the Drakes League.
“Once the final number is known, there will be an emergency executive meeting on Monday, November 21, to finalise our plans and these will be explained to the clubs at the special meeting two days later.
“Clubs will not be asked to vote at that meeting, but to do so at the annual meeting, which has been put back to December 14.”
Four Central clubs – Mount, Birchencliffe, Leymoor and Bradley & Colne – have applied to join the Halifax League and are expected to be accepted.
Horbury Bridge, Calder Grove and Denby Grange have been taken in by the Pontefract League, while Higham and Green Moor have gone to South Yorkshire.
Which is likely to leave the Drakes with seven clubs to accommodate – Holmbridge, Edgerton & Dalton, Nortonthorpe, Almondburians, Flockton, Cartworth Moor and Augustinians (the final two clubs having only one team).
If this proves to be the final case, the likely suggestion is to put them into a revamped second XI set-up for the Drakes.
On the shortage of umpires, the Drakes Executive have pledged to do all they can to support the Umpires Association drive to recruit more men in white coats.
Umpires Association secretary Ron Tindall had 60 umpires on the books for the summer just gone, but that figure quickly became 48 as people dropped out for various reasons.
And at the moment, the prospect is for only 45 umpires to be involved on a regular basis.
Thirty eight of those are immediately taken up officiating first-team matches in the Drakes (three sections totalling 19 matches).
That then leaves just one umpire per match in the Drakes Premiership Two for second teams – with none for the other second XI matches which could, of course, include the further influx of clubs from the Central League.
“Our League are fully supportive of the initiative from the Umpires Association to get more people involved in umpiring,” added Mr Atkinson.
“Indeed, myself, David Haikings and Ron Tindall have formed a three-man working party to work together throughout the winter to recruit more umpires.
“It’s important we have a conversation between the Umpires Association, the League and the clubs to do everything possible to find out why people are not going into officiating cricket matches.
“At the annual dinner on Friday, a questionnaire will be on all club tables to tick boxes as to why they believe people won’t take up umpiring.”
Former England and Yorkshire star Matthew Hoggard is guest speaker at the annual dinner and prize presentation on Friday at the Cedar Court Hotel.
Around 250 guests will be attending, when John Booth (Lascelles Hall) and Peter Harrison (Armitage Bridge) will receive the Lady Sykes Candlesticks for outstanding service to their clubs and the game of cricket.