MEWIES Solicitors Craven League secretary Ann Coe has urged clubs to lighten her increasing workload by filling in match report details correctly and treating them seriously.

She said in her annual address to the league at Cross Hills Social Club: “The league is trying hard to improve standards. It's not only about player behaviour, but it is hoped umpires will get feedback, not just about what they did wrong (in the players’ eyes), but positive feedback.

“Although if an umpire makes a genuine mistake, discuss it with him - umpires are human.

“What I have found so disappointing is the number of umpires who aren't talking after the game, with flyaway comments like 'just put it down as an A'.

“However, what's really annoying is the clubs who I have to chase for the match reports. Then when the club receive a fine, they will moan.”

She added: “Can you just take a minute to view the situation from my point of view and how much time and effort one missing match report causes me?

“Firstly I have to prepare the fine notice, then put the information on a weekly list for our treasurer. I e-mail the fine notice to the club.

“Next I get either an e-mail asking what the club has been fined for (it’s easier to ask me than look it up) or I receive an objection to the fine, and finally, if I'm really lucky, I receive the match report.

“Yet some clubs completely ignore my e-mail and fine, and the match report is outstanding for a second week - another fine is necessary and off we go again.

“This season, I have sent out 264 fines and there are just three clubs who haven't been fined for anything - thank you Crossflatts, Skipton CI and Embsay.”

Coe then admitted that another large area of her work was dealing with disciplinary problems.

She said: “I'll just tell you that the Craven League has had 27 cases thought severe enough that they were brought to the league’s attention.

“My opinion is that the players involved should be ashamed of themselves, although I'm sure there have been many more cases not reported, and can I just remind everyone that cricket is supposed to be the game for gentlemen. I'll say no more.”

Her address then turned to happier matters, such as playing cricket and the glorious weather in 2018 after a very wet start.

She said: “As we started the season, the grounds were waterlogged and it didn't look like we would ever get started.

“The first fixtures of the season were moved to Sunday, May 20. It caused problems for some, but the majority managed to play.

“Then the weather changed. It was brilliant and just how much cricket did we eventually manage to get in.

“It was proper cricket weather - lovely and warm and not much rain. Difficult to remember that now that it's December and we have typical cold winter weather.

“Yes, we still have a problem with the number of concessions. I am not being complacent - all leagues are struggling with this issue.

“Hopefully some of the proposed rule changes put forward might help improve things for next season.

“The main issue for me remains the same. I say it every year. It's the number of clubs who don't have junior sections.

“I know it’s hard work but it’s a necessity, especially if our clubs are going to be around in another 10 years.”

Coe then congratulated all of the league and cup winners, giving mention to Barrowford (winners of the First Division and Third Division) and Crossflatts, both of whom will have their teams in the top two divisions in 2019, Foulridge (winners of the Second Division, the Cowling Cup and the Margaret Coe Trophy as club of the year) and Chatburn, who are leaving to join the Ribblesdale League.