DALES Council League president Geoff Cope has expressed his sadness that Crompark have resigned from the league.

The former Yorkshire and England off-spinner, speaking at the league’s annual meeting at Pudsey Congs, said: “Crompark have sadly left us, and they were original league members (in 1955) and they were the second club that I played against as a youngster when I had just moved into long trousers.

“I am proud to be president of this league and I hope to be for a while longer.

“I am a figurehead and receive the odd phone call and give advice, but it is the executive committee that run the league, and they do it very, very well.

“There are a lot of people who volunteer at clubs, such as secretaries, groundspeople, those who do the teas, and they are essential to this wonderful game of cricket.

“One sad note is that the disciplinary committee had to meet so I ask you to respect the officials, respect the umpires.

“I would have had 27 more wickets if Dickie Bird had not been at my end, but he said ‘I only give them out when I think that they are out’.”

League chairman Colin White praised the ‘groundsmen’ in his annual report.

He said: “Cricket is not just about putting six bits of wood in the ground with four other bits on top and hitting a missile with a lump of wood.

“It needs a surface to play on and a facility to play at. Therefore, all clubs and players should show their gratitude to the personnel who run your clubs, facilities and prepare the grounds and pitches on which you play, bearing in mind the long hours these people put in for your enjoyment.”

League fixtures secretary Ken Firth said that the league should have 23 clubs and 32 teams next season, giving A and B divisions 12 teams each and C Division eight teams, who will play each other three times.

Refresher courses, which should be fun and informative, will be held for umpires at Pudsey Congs on Wednesdays February 16 and 23 and March 2, 9, 16 and 23 (7pm-9.30pm), hosted by umpire Della Rebours.

League officials – President: Geoff Cope. Chairman and assistant auditor, Colin White. Secretary, minutes’ secretary and auditor, Ron Mackenzie. Treasurer and club representative, Neil Bonnington. Fixture secretary, Ken Firth. Other club representatives: Steve Bradbury, David Wilson, Sara-Louise Butterfield, Sam Jackson.