IN THE wake of Birchencliffe resigning after just one season in the Spenser Wilson Halifax League, secretary Tim Helliwell admitted that four other member clubs had been in contact.

Helliwell reported during the league's annual meeting at Copley Cricket Club that those clubs asked to talk about their situation but wished to remain anonymous.

He said: "They were worried about their ability to raise sides for next season and they wanted some guidance. Three of them have since come back to us to say they are fine with the way things are.

"But what we are asking of clubs is that if they have any troubles in this regard that they get in touch with us sooner rather than later."

Birchencliffe's demise did not come as a major surprise as the former Huddersfield Central League club have become embroiled in a dispute with co-tenants Lindley Swifts, who are switching to summer rugby league at the ground in 2018.

The cricketers were unable to play on their ground from the middle of the season just finished and disbanded their second team.

The firsts continued through to the end of the season in the hope of regrouping, with Bradley and Colnebridge hosting matches for them, but they had to cancel their last two fixtures.

Helliwell said: "Birchencliffe have now written to me resigning from the league – a sad day for a club that has been around for many years but also for cricket in general."

Upper Hopton, the other club in the bottom two in Division Two, were re-elected 24-0 at the league's AGM.

Meanwhile, league treasurer Bob Airey reminded clubs that sponsors were still needed for the Crossley Shield and Sunday League finals.

Of the proposed rule changes, only three were defeated – a call to bring back monthly meetings, plus leg-side wides in the league and cup.

Helliwell has just completed his first 12 months as secretary and admitted it had been a demanding year for league officials.

At the league's October meeting hosted by Pellon Social Club, he said: "Despite all the issues we have had to face, it is still fantastic to see so many people still playing, watching and enjoying our great game."

Helliwell said congratulations were in order to all clubs "for keeping the game alive when facing so many challenges around player availability".

Some matches had been conceded and teams had taken to the field with less than 11 players but individuals at clubs had rallied the troops and helped preserve the integrity of the league.

Helliwell said the clubs who were riding high were doing so because of their efforts over juniors, coaches, player recruitment and positive energy around the club.

Yet he added a warning: "Beware, a club only has to stop doing these things and problems will emerge."

Helliwell, of Sowerby Bridge CC, hopes clubs will make greater use of the junior player loan scheme next year and revealed that the league hoped to feature live scoring on the league website in 2019.

The 2018 season is due to start on April 21 and will end on the weekend of September 15-16.