OUTGOING league secretary and fixture secretary Ann and Trevor Coe have been thanked for their long service to the Mewies Solicitors Craven & District League.

Executive committee member Martin Burgess admitted to the league’s annual dinner at Rolls Royce Leisure at Barnoldswick the duo’s retirement has caused something bordering on panic for the league.

He added: “It would be greatly amiss if we did not recognise the fact that Ann and Trevor Coe have kept this league going for many years.

“They tirelessly sorted fixtures, disciplinary issues, meetings, this dinner, the handbook, the purchasing of cricket balls, ensured our fulfilment to child welfare regulations, liaised with the YCB, were on the end of a phone when a query about a league rule occurred and many other things that continue to emerge as the executive try to fill the void they have left.

“Thank you Ann and Trevor. You are, and will continue to be, greatly missed, and the Craven and District League owes you a significant debt of gratitude.”

However, he said that now was the time for the league to look forward to a new way of working, with the jobs of secretary and fixture secretary being reduced as more responsibility for administration is being put back to the clubs.

Pending approval at the annual meeting at Cross Hills Social Club on Monday, December 9, Peter Foster will be league secretary and Ryan Judson fixture secretary.

Others to put their names forward for the executive committee are Melanie Halstead (child welfare officer), Rehan Ahmed (disciplinary officer), Bill Marshall (publicity officer and Play Cricket secretary) and David Allen (handbook editor).

Burgess warned: “The clear message is that the executive and the clubs equally have to take more responsibility for the administrative and practical tasks that make a league work.

“No longer will one person bear that burden and act as a safety net to ensure we do the things we have to and on time.

“Having attended the first meeting of this new regime on Monday, I think it is early days but looks like an exciting time which bodes well for the league’s future.”

He added that the weather had had a significant impact on the fixtures in 2019, with some clubs in the First Division having as many as seven matches abandoned.

A worrying trend is clubs failing to fulfil their fixtures.

Burgess said: “Sandy Lane were unable to raise a side for the last weeks of the season.

“They had already joined Eldwick & Gilstead, Riddlesden, Thornton-in-Craven and Silsden in having only one team in league competitions.

“This season they have been joined by Cononley. Getting people to give up a Saturday afternoon and, too often, early evening is becoming increasingly difficult.

“Having said that, clubs like Oakworth, Embsay and others with thriving junior sections are beacons of light.

“One of the most enjoyable moments I watched as an umpire last season came from an Oakworth first team of largely young and almost entirely ‘home-grown’ players score 407-7 in their 45 overs.

“Others like Haworth Road, Bingley Congs and Crossflatts have looked to their local communities and friends of friends to recruit players, many of whom are from an Asian heritage background.

“Individuals work hard to ensure 22 players on the field week in, week out. This can be a soul-destroying job and it was good to see that hard work resulted in the success of those clubs and national recognition of that for Les Gudgeon of Haworth Road.

“His YCB OSCA ‘Heartbeat of the Club’ award took him down to Lord’s, where he received a runners-up trophy, a certificate and a bottle of champagne for the national equivalent.

“Sandy Lane’s demise was misrepresented by their captain announcing to the league by email that the club was folding.

“This was classic ‘fake news’, showing the dangers of communication in the digital age because the core of the club, led by Andy Grace and his brother, are determined to keep it going, having refurbished the pavilion and commissioned remedial work on the square this winter. I wish them the best of luck in their efforts.”

Burgess added that £661.50p had been raised thus far for the Manorlands Hospice via the annual Manorlands Plate match, this time being played between Haworth Road Methodists and Bingley Congs at Airedale.

He also thanked the members of the league executive committee, the league’s sponsors Mewies Solicitors and cup sponsors Dacre, Son & Hartley (Wynn Cup) and JMS Ltd (Cowling Cup).

Award winners – First Division, batting: Johandre Barnard (Bingley Congs), bowling: Mayank Singh (Crossflatts). Second Division, batting: Mathew Cox (Airedale), bowling: Attique Khan (Sandy Lane). Third Division, batting: Steve Brown (Glusburn), bowling: Azhar Iqbal (Skipton CI). Fourth Division, batting: Chris Dennison (Denholme II), bowling: Imran Khan (Wilsden II).

Hargreaves Batting Trophy: Johandre Barnard (Bingley Congs). Garbutt Bowling Trophy: Wasim Hussain (Crossfatts). Fryers Wicket-Keeping Trophy: Nathan Bradbury (Crossflatts), Nathan Parker (Cononley). Mewies Fielding Trophy: Robert Hollingsworth (Oakworth). Mark Batty Memorial Trophy: Bradley Powell (Oakworth). Norman Smith Merit Trophy: Liam Foulkes (Cowling). FS Trueman Ball Trophy: Ben Hemsley (Bingley Congs).

Harold Blackburn Trophy: Harry Hollingsworth (Oakworth). Don Green Memorial Trophy: George Elrick (Sutton). Frank Surgenor Trophy: Shahid Saleem (Haworth Road Meths). Derek Granger Memorial Trophy: Vijay Amirtharaj (Crossflatts). Secretary’s Trophy: Rob Cockell (Skipton CI). Treasurer’s Trophy: Imran Khan (Wilsden).

Roll of honour – First Division: Crossflatts. Second Division: Hepworth & Idle. Third Division: Silsden. Fourth Division: Cowling II. Wynn Cup: Crossflatts (runners-up, Bingley Congs). Cowling Cup: Bradley (runners-up, Embsay II). Margaret Coe Memorial Trophy: Crossflatts.