DRAKES League officials hope to distribute cricket balls to clubs on Wednesday – just three days before the start of the new season!

They also hope league handbooks will be available with the balls for club representatives to take away from a second XI umpires meeting to be held at Broad Oak.

The balls are part of a Romida sponsorship, but they have been impounded at Manchester Airport en route from Asia for the last three weeks. There have also been delays with the handbook, despite strenuous efforts to get it produced earlier.

Trevor Atkinson, the league’s new executive secretary (pictured), explained: “We understand there have been problems with the paperwork accompanying the balls into this country, so customs would not release them until it was sorted out.

“Thankfully, we now believe that has been done and it’s our intention to give them to the second XI club umpires who come to the meeting at Broad Oak on Wednesday.

“We also hope to have the handbooks available by then, but if not we’ll get them out as quickly as possible.

“If, for any reason, the balls don’t turn up in the next couple of days, then clubs should use their existing supply of Reader balls on Saturday. If clubs don’t have any Readers left, then I have a supply and they should get in touch.”