THE Dales Council League Umpires' Association is reaching a tipping point.

Umpires' secretary and appointments' secretary Maria Vasudev told their annual meeting at Pudsey Congs: "We have lost loads of umpires, including our vice-chairman Andrew Shackleton.

"We are down to 19 'full-time' umpires and we need 28 umpires in all so we will have to call on the supplementary list - there are about 12 on it but only three tend to do matches - more than we have in the past."

Umpires' president Steve Wilkes said: "Umpires will not put up with the abuse or whatever that they suffer."

League fixtures secretary Ken Firth said: "Fifty years ago when players retired they moved onto a club committee position, a league management position or became an umpire so there was that continuity.

"It is difficult now for any league and maybe it would be brilliant if, just for one week, we only sent umpires to the clubs who provide umpires.

"In 2012, we had 40 umpires but two years later we were down to 22 and now we have even less.

"Maybe we should do what the Craven League do and just provide umpires for the top two divisions and let club umpires do the rest."

Vasudev added: "People volunteer to do this job so we can't be too harsh."

However, she was disappointed with the sparse turnout at the annual meeting and ordinary meetings.

She said: "There are not a lot of people here and not a lot of interest in some of our other meetings.

"We cannot force people to attend but we are going to have to reiterate that it is important to attend meetings and to attend the bi-annual refresher course."

ECB ACO county education officer Richard Jones is running the course, which is open to all leagues, at Pudsey Congs on Wednesdays February 5, 12 and 19 (7.15pm).

Umpires' chairman Trevor Heylings, who has replaced Mick Edwards as umpires' treasurer, thanked him for his eight years' service and also thanked long-serving former umpires' secretary Colin White and former appointments' secretary Steve Wilkes.