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League chairman David Young reflects on the 2020 season

The 2020 season only lasted 56 days but it presented challenges that none of us have previously experienced.

Sadly, we were unable to contest the league championship for the first time in our 117-year history or the Priestley Cup, Jack Hampshire Cup and Priestley Shield competitions.

However, our decision to organise eight league cup competition while also playing the two T20 Cups was rewarded with some fine cricket.

We said from the outset that health and safety were the top priority and whenever clubs had a positive Covid-19 test they took the appropriate action.

It was unfortunate that we were unable to play our Premier League Cup final between Pudsey St Lawrence and Townville – that trophy will be shared – but the other seven finals went ahead and were well supported.

My congratulations go to the winning teams, Pudsey Congs, Jer Lane, Altofts, Batley 2nds, Pudsey Congs 2nds, Sandal 2nd and Crossbank Methodists 2nds.

It is also appropriate at this time to salute the achievements of Hanging Heaton and Northowram Fields who won the Group A and Group B cups respectively.

The quality of the cricket played in each of the competitions reflected the commitment and desire of the players to compete in a shortened season.

It was pleasing to see so many matches played in a good spirit. The rapport between players and umpires is something I would like us to build on in the future.

The commitment we received from our umpires was tremendous. Two umpires were provided for every first team game plus a good number of second team fixtures.

This was achieved despite many of our older umpires not officiating and others deciding to sit out the season due to the risks posed by Covid19.

Umpires do not always get the praise they deserve for the tough but invaluable job they perform, but this season their contribution has been outstanding and it was great to see Helen McGuire and 15-year-old Emma Lawson create a piece of league history last Saturday when they took charge of the Second Teams Division Two League Cup final between Sandal and Ossett.

That we were able to offer cricket at all was a reward for a huge amount of work by club officials and groundsmen.

To the 43 clubs who played in the league cup competitions I say a big thank you. There was so much extra work to cope with to comply with Covid-19 guidance, but everybody rose to the challenge.

It said much for the groundsmen across the league that the grounds I visited look so good. They had clearly been given hours of loving care.

One of the big successes of the season was the switch to Play Cricket Scorer Pro. Our scorers coped wonderfully well with the change from TCS and Cric HQ. They ensured we had outstanding live scores and results services.

During the coming weeks, the league officials will be reviewing the season and looking at the things we have learned. We will also assess the new innovations such as the 40 over format, T20 cricket on Sundays, and start times.

The league officials are aware of the very real possibility that Covid-19 will impact on the 2021 season. For that reason, we will keep you informed of the latest advice and guidance through regular newsletters.

And finally, thank you to all the clubs who have sent me messages congratulating the league on what has been achieved this season. I appreciate that there will always be times when the decisions we make are not appreciated by everybody. 

It is not possible to please all clubs all of the time but what I can guarantee is that we will endeavour to do all we can to ensure our league overcomes the continuing challenges created by Covid-19 in the months ahead.