Kirsty was in London last Friday, so I met her in Doncaster on her way back and we travelled across to Barnsley. It was her nephew’s second birthday, she had baked a cake, and needed to put the icing on it on Saturday morning in readiness for his birthday party at Cannon Hall at lunchtime. 
We had a very satisfying picnic – even if the pork pies fell short of Percy Turner and Cryer & Stott standards – and I even agreed to go round the farm afterwards. Animals are not my strong point – I struggle to tell a pig from a sheep – but I admit that I did find it quite fascinating watching the animals playing together from the viewing areas in the farrowing houses. 
 
We were there rather longer than I had anticipated, and I checked the score at Green Lane before we set off, to make sure the journey was worthwhile. Thornes had lost three early wickets in their quest to overhaul 188, so an interesting finish looked on, and off we went. Half an hour later, Green Lane was decidedly overcast and David Toft and Satyjeet Bacchav were well on their way to guiding the visitors to victory. I enjoyed reminiscing on the boundary with Ronnie Hudson and Steve Wolfenden; our paths did not cross much on the field, but we shared interesting memories of very different cricketing times. Ronnie also voiced the opinion that if England do not win the World Cup this year then they never will, and we were speculating on the odds. I subsequently found out that England were 7-4 favourites – I had thought they might even be odds-on. Despite this, whilst agreeing with Ronnie in principle, I still think they might find some way of cocking it up. I hope not. 
 
As the cloud thickened and the rain started, Thornes were so far ahead on Duckworth Lewis that there was no complaint from either side when the umpires took the players off with Thornes 20 short of victory. The verdict of a 46-run win for Thornes still seems strange to those of us brought up to understand that the side batting second can only win by wickets, not runs. But whilst there are occasional complaints, Messrs Duckworth and Lewis have undoubtedly given us a much fairer tool for deciding games spoiled by the weather than we had before. When I started umpiring in the old Yorkshire Council, after losing an hour’s play, I think it was, we went onto ‘time,’ which meant that the game had to finish something like six hours after the scheduled start time – irrespective of the state of play – and unless one team had won in the conventional way, it was a draw. So far in the YSPL, out of 435 scheduled games, we have achieved 32 results thanks to the DLS method – 7.4%. It is not a huge number, but a significant one. 
 
After Saturday’s game, I enjoyed a beer with some of the Aston Hall stalwarts in the clubhouse before Duncan Jones and Ray Knowles joined us. When I say enjoyed, I was drinking Bradfield Belgian Blue which was a new one on me. As I was driving, I could only allow myself one of those – but I shall certainly have more in the future! On the subject of beer, Duncan Jones invited me to have a few pints with him in Doncaster one Saturday afternoon after the end of the season. My drinking experience in that town is very limited, and I shall look forward to it. 
 
I was up early on Sunday morning and did the weekly bulletin, before preparing the Sunday lunch. On Monday, I kept up-to-date with the games on the mobile – it was not a good day for the two leaders, but a great one for Barnsley and Cleethorpes. I am sure that James Osmond will not mind me reminding him that, after the triple blows of his brother, Alex, missing the first couple of months of the season, Luis Adlard being unavailable due to starting his football career with Grimsby Town, and the late arrival of their overseas player, his expectations for the early matches were far from bright – I am sure he is delighted to be proved wrong. 
 
Ronnie and Steve told me on Saturday that they hoped Harpreet Singh did not choose Monday to show his best form, so perhaps it was no surprise when he almost singled-handedly steered Barnsley to a competitive score – despite Satyajeet Bacchav producing our best bowling analysis of the season with 7-44. Since the injury to Ali Jahangir has necessitated Haider being used as a bowler, Beck Frostick has ably taken over behind the stumps for Barnsley; he is a very promising all-round cricketer, and it was pleasing to see him bag five victims. 
 
But the big talking point on Monday concerned the game at Hallam. I received a call from Duncan Jones at just before 2pm to tell me that the game had been abandoned due to a dangerous pitch. It is a very difficult situation, in response to which, as a committee, we must balance our sympathy for the difficulties that Hallam have encountered over the last nine months, and our support for the club, with our responsibilities to the other eleven clubs and their players. 
I consulted with two members of the Yorkshire Premier Leagues Management Board whose views I respect, and have heard the views of all our committee over the last few days. The decision that the points should be awarded to Treeton was unanimous, there was also a general agreement about the need for a further independent inspection of the ground to assess its future fitness for Premier League cricket and to recommend remedial actions necessary, as well as the action to be taken in the event of a similar future incident. At the same time, I have consulted with David Ward in the SYSCL, who also have a big stake in the issue, and the umpires’ association, whose members will be at the forefront of future action on the field. I also took the opportunity of commending Jonathan Crabtree and Duncan Jones, whose swift and decisive action on Monday ensured that there was no serious injury. 
 
Finally, I have managed to find time to check and correct Play-Cricket scorecards and produce our first weekly statistical summary of the season, which will be updated and included in Sunday’s weekly bulletin. I intend also that the summary will be updated weekly and published on our new website when that is launched in early June. 
 
Next week, Steve will be producing his eagerly-awaited annual blog. I have been very kind to him recently, so I hope to escape without copping too much stick! 
 
Roger 
 
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