Landing in Manchester last Saturday at 4pm was something of a shock to the system – raining and 12 degrees – compared to the 31 degrees and brilliant sunshine when we walked across the tarmac in Kefalonia four hours earlier. Sadly, we have not brought the hot weather back with us – it seems to have done little but rain since we returned. 
The pavilion at Goole Town CC 
Hull's newest pub - Fretwells' in the Old Town 
Steve was indeed very kind to me last week, but I must correct him on one count. Kirsty does not give me a hard time ever! I am an early riser and when we are over there I make a cup of tea and take my laptop outside to do cricket and rugby work whilst she has a lie in. After breakfast it is then usually put away for the day. 
 
I kept in touch with the little cricket being played whilst on the journey back over the Pennines. Aston Hall and Wickersley gained valuable wins – thanks to the flexibility to reduce overs and the availability of DLS to determine games affected by weather. 
 
On the subject of DLS, I am hearing a few worrying reports about printers not being available and scorers not being fully cognisant of the use of the DLS system. This is not acceptable. I hope that we all agree that as a Premier League we should be aspiring to the highest standards on and off the field – which includes the vital part of the game that is scoring! Steve will be following up on this and we may need to penalise offenders. 
 
On Sunday, Doncaster Town had a fine win over Sheffield Collegiate to progress to the regional final in the National Club Knock-Out, and we wish them the very best of luck in that. It can only do our league good when our clubs do well in national competitions. My colleagues in the Bradford League and the North Yorkshire & South Durham League were justifiably proud of the success of Hanging Heaton in the National t20 and Richmondshire on winning the National KO last season. Speaking of the Bradford League, I also congratulated Barnsley on their fine win over New Farnley in the Heavy Woollen Cup on Sunday. 
Monday, of course, was the scheduled date of the League t20 game against the Yorkshire Vikings. We were aware on Sunday night that the forecast was pretty dreadful for the following day, and when Steve rang me on Monday morning to say that it was already raining in Doncaster, I contacted YCCC to ask how they wanted to proceed. They said that they were keen to play, but agreed that the chances were very slim and left the decision to us, saying that they would welcome an early decision to avoid unnecessary travelling and expenditure. I contacted Bill Zuurbier at DTCC, and we quickly agreed that an early cancellation was the sensible option. 
 
When we notified the players, two or three asked whether the game would be rearranged. This will not be possible because of YCCC fixture commitments, but as I was pleased about the players’ keenness to play, I have opened negotiations with one of my Management Board colleagues about playing a t20 against his league, possibly under floodlights, later in the season – fingers crossed! 
 
This week I have been doing some cooking for my son and daughter-in-law. I will become a grand-father for a second time next week, and they like to have meals in the freezer for when they are short of time for cooking. I like cooking, so it is no bother, and I am pleased that they like the meals I prepare! 
On Tuesday evening, my friend James came up from London on work duties – he was delivering seminars in Leeds and Hull, and stopped over that night. We went out for a few pints and some tea – it was good to have some proper real ale after being away for a couple of weeks. James likes drinking in Hull – he is very impressed that there are so many good pubs in such a small area in the Old Town. He was also impressed that we got a good quality meal and a couple of good quality pints for £33 – you can’t do that in London! 
 
Last night, Steve came across here and we went to Beverley to see our new website designer. We were really impressed with what he has done, and are now looking forward to playing around with it over the next few days and applying the final touches ready for launch. Watch this space!! 
 
This morning, I went to meet Hallam chairman Matt Mawson about the recent difficulties with the pitch at Crimicar. Our meeting can I think be fairly described as being frank and positive. Hallam have had a difficult time since they came into our league; firstly, trying to procure funding for better pavilion facilities, then the emergence of the issue with ball-strike netting over the winter, and most recently the standard of the pitch over the Bank Holiday weekend. It has been a most frustrating time for all concerned, particularly the club themselves, who in other ways are an example to others in terms of achieving increased participation in the game. The club are working with experienced groundsman Mark Pearson and Matt is confident that there will be no recurrence of Bank Holiday Monday’s issue. 
 
I met Matt at the Goole Town CC ground – a ‘halfway house’ between Hull and Sheffield. I know the president at Goole, Stewart Gibbins, very well from my long years as an umpire and committee member in the old Humber Don League. When I first went to Goole to umpire in 1976 the club had a portakabin-type pavilion that can kindly be described as basic. But, under Stewart’s chairmanship in the early 1990s, the club started fund-raising and applying for grants to build a new pavilion. The new facility, pictured here, was opened in 1996 and is still looking well. It is one of those clubhouses that is used by the wider community, both by ‘drinking members’ and for christenings and funerals. 
 
On the field, the club’s first XI stands proudly at the top of the Y&DCL First Division and maybe they can reach the Premier League before long. It is 23 years since I was last on the ground, and Stewart and I wandered out to the middle and reminisced about games and personalities of the past. It was very pleasing to hear that so many of the people I remember from umpiring the club are still with us – and there were some real characters among them (I’ll say no more!). 
We are planning to be at cricket somewhere this Saturday, but due to the unsettled weather, we will make a decision on the day about where to travel to. 
 
Till next week! 
 
Roger 
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