League president Keith Moss is leading an initiative aimed at boosting the recruitment of new umpires. He will lead a series of meetings with clubs in a bid to halt the decline in the numbers of match officials.
The Management Board have become increasingly concerned that despite the recruitment carried out by the league's Umpires Association that there is now a serious shortage.
In a letter to all clubs the league secretary Steve Raistrick said: "the League now has a distinct lack of umpires. You will be aware that far too many second eleven matches had only one umpire. This is not acceptable for a league of our standing. Clearly something must be done, not least by involving all our member clubs. "
A series of meetings are planned for late October early November, grouping “near neighbour” clubs together to discuss and plan how as a local unit this problem can be tackled.
At the first meeting at Cleckheaton the clubs looked at a number of possible sources for recruitment. These included recently retired players, players reaching the end of their careers and youngsters in the 17-25 age bracket who are often lost to the game if they cannot get a regular place in a senior side.
Full training will be given to all recruits and there is now an established ECB pathwaywhich enables umpires to climb the ranks as they become more experienced.
Click here for details of ECB ACO Levels and courses
The league president, chief executive as and when available, Umpires Association chairman, supported by members of the Management Board and Umpires Association will attend all meetings. It is requested that all club chairman and secretaries attend the appropriate meeting.
The following dates, venues and groupings are as follows. All to commence at 7.30pm.
GROUP 1: Thursday, October 24 at Cleckheaton –
Cleckheaton, Hanging Heaton, Morley, Gomersal, Spen Victoria.
GROUP 2: Tuesday, October 29 at Pudsey St. Lawrence -
Pudsey St. Lawrence, Pudsey Congs, Farsley, New Farnley.
GROUP 3: Thursday, October 31 at East Bierley -
East Bierley, Hartshead Moor, Brighouse, Lightcliffe, Woodlands, Bankfoot.
GROUP 4: Thursday, November 7 at Undercliffe –
Undercliffe, Idle, Great Horton, Bowling Old Lane, Windhill.
GROUP 5: Tuesday, November 19 at Bradford & Bingley – Bradford & Bingley, Yeadon, Keighley, Saltaire, Baildon.