THOSE with regard to the tradition of teas as being part of the fabric of a local cricket match can take heart from happenings at the Aire-Wharfe League’s council meeting at Otley RUFC.

Steeton proposed that: “Cricket teas be dispensed with and replaced with food provided post-match by the home team at no charge.”

However, only two clubs were in favour of the resolution and, at the most, 33 were against, meaning that the proposal was more than soundly defeated.

Steeton explained that, pre-Covid, the home team would provide a tea during the interval between innings and that the away team were obliged to pay £40 towards the overall cost.

They argued that not all players wanted teas and that therefore the away club would be paying for unwanted teas, a problem which will only grow as players have now got used to either not having teas or bringing their own refreshments, as has happened in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Indeed they state that many younger players would prefer to eat ‘fast food’ after the match or like the flexibility of bringing their own food, and that the quality of teas varied, making the £40 charge excessive in some cases.

They also argue that many clubs are finding it increasingly difficult to get someone to make the teas, that they often wilted in the afternoon sun before being eaten, and that clubs are even having to engage outside caterers to make the teas.

Meanwhile during Ramadan, clubs may even have to pay £40 for teas that were not going to be consumed.

Jane Pratt then spoke on behalf of the league’s Umpires’ Association, saying: “We are against the resolution.

“Teas are part and parcel of our game, and many of our umpires are elderly and would want something to eat at tea-time after standing for several hours.

“The average age of our umpires is 63, and we have 30 umpires who are 70 or over, and they want some sustenance during the tea interval if they are going to be standing for six or seven hours.”

League secretary Matthew Grimes said: “If clubs want to provide teas and then something afterwards as well then that is fantastic, but we feel that clubs should provide something at the tea interval.”

It was also pointed out from the floor that if the Aire-Wharfe League didn’t have teas and other leagues did then it might drive some umpires away to those other leagues.