Huddersfield Umpires Association have launched a desperate appeal for new officials to take charge of Drakes League matches.

They are experiencing “a critical shortage of umpires for the 2018 season and beyond” and say the crisis has reached an unprecedented level.

Last season many Second XI matches were officiated by just a club umpire – an unqualified local volunteer associated with a home club.

The fear is that if the current trend in umpire numbers falling continues, it will soon impact on First XI cricket.

“With the new season quickly approaching, a fresh recruitment drive for volunteer umpires to join the Umpires Association is now under way,” said a statement from the Association.

“Without new umpires, cricket at local level is under serious jeopardy – so now is a chance for you to make a difference to the sport that we all love so passionately.

“Are you an ex-player who hasn’t been involved in the game for a while?

“Maybe you’re a club supporter, or simply hold a strong interest in cricket in general and you’d like to be involved on a social basis?

“Local league umpiring has many unique benefits, helping you reignite old friendships or forge new bonds with cricketers in the Drakes Huddersfield Cricket League.”

The Umpires Association - in conjunction with the ECB - will be conducting an Umpiring Level 1 training course in the New Year.

The fee is £30, although the Drakes League will return half of that on qualification.

For further information and for availability on the Umpires Level 1 course, contact Ron Tindall on 01484 664002 or 07860 137162.