Controversial decision reviewed

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Halifax Cricket League chiefs have promised to reconsider their verdict over a non-starting Premier Division match which has caused a furore on social media.

The executive ruled that visitors Northowram Hedge Top were to blame for a game at Jer Lane failing to get under way before the 4.05pm cut off point after rain on Saturday, May 12.

After studying evidence from the clubs and umpires, they awarded Jer Lane the maximum 12 points and Northowram, who had been due to bat, no points.

Northowram skipper Tom Clee returned to Bradford League club Woodlands in the wake of the decision and other clubs were unhappy Jer Lane’s title bid had received a 10-point boost, after each side had initially received two points.

It was also revealed at last night’s league meeting at Pellon club that two sponsors with connections to the Northowram club were reviewing their backing.

Treasurer Bob Airey said the sponsors of the second teams’ Crossley Shield competition had ended their support immediately and league sponsors Spenser Wilson had indicated they may not take up the option to extend their three-year deal by another two years from the end of this season. Airey said that could cost the league £7,000.

League chairman Anthony Briggs was unable to attend last night but a four-page statement from him was read out by acting chairman Steve Williams.

Briggs said the Jer Lane versus Northowram HT fixture had been dealt with under match procedures and not as a disciplinary issue.

The umpires had informed both teams that the game would commence at 4.05. The match was abandoned at 4.07 after the Northowram batsmen failed to enter the field of play.

The full executive had voted independently on the matter but Northowram HT had been disappointed with the decision and their representatives had subsequently met the new management board.

New information and anomalies had emerged, including some MCC rules which could over-ride league rules, while Jer Lane and one of the umpires had provided further information.

The decision would now be re-examined by the executive on July 17.

Briggs added that Northowram wanted to make it clear that they had every intention of playing the game and that in their view there was insufficient time to get their opening batsmen padded up and on the field in time.

Meanwhile, Briggs did not hold back in his condemnation of critics of officials on social media, some of whom were ill informed.

He said executive members had come under increasing scrutiny and he felt they were in a no-win situation at times, even though they were only enforcing rules put in place by the clubs.

Briggs urged the clubs to support the executive and challenged those who thought they could do better to put themselves up for election.

He added: “I have stopped enjoying the job and at times it has become a real chore. Many hardworking people on our executive feel the same.”

A vote of confidence came from the Southowram representative who said his club had come “within two inches of folding” before the intervention of league chiefs at the start of the season.

One official who will not be continuing beyond the end of the season is Peter Taylor, who fulfils several roles under the fixture secretary banner.

He announced his decision to step down but said his decision had been taken before the Jer Lane-Northowram issue had surfaced.