CLUBS in the Halifax League have been told to bite the bullet when it comes to starting their matches on Easter Saturday.

Some dissent came from the floor of the league’s pre-season meeting at Pellon Social Club, and league secretary Tim Helliwell admitted that a few cricket clubs would think that that was too early to start a campaign.

However, he explained: “We had no alternative, with Saturday clubs having voted to play the first round of the cup competitions on a Saturday.

“There are just not enough Saturdays available and extending the season to the weekend of September 24-25 is not realistic with the amount of end-of-season work to do on grounds.”

Meanwhile, clubs were reminded of the five-year plan from the umpires’ development plan sub-committee in the light of 128 fixtures in the league last season having no league umpire.

A total of 16 clubs provided one or more ‘full-time’ umpire for the league, eight clubs provided half an umpire or less, and seven provided no league umpires.

For this season, every club not providing the name of a ‘full-time’ umpire to the league by Saturday, May 7 (who must umpire at least 12 matches by the end of August) will result in both their first and second teams being deducted 12 points each on Saturday, August 27 - three weeks before the season ends.

Any club failing to consistently provide a league umpire could find that their one of their players would have to stand as an umpire rather than play.

Club captains have attended pre-season meetings arranged by the league (at Low Moor Holy Trinity, Bradshaw and Sowerby Bridge) to remind them of their responsibilities relating to on-field discipline, match-day processes, relationships with umpires, and registrations and transfers.

Meanwhile, clubs were forewarned that failure to reply to league requests for opinions and to vote on certain issues in time will result in fines, which didn’t happen very often in 2020 or 2021.

Helliwell said: “It is usually the same three or four clubs (who do not bother to respond) and this is not acceptable.

“It is totally unfair for executive members trying hard to work for the clubs’ benefit having to chase on numerous occasions for responses.”

Bradshaw have withdrawn their team from the Sunday League.