WITH a drying week's weather in prospect, the Spenser Wilson Halifax League have decided against the wholesale re-arrangement of their opening fixtures on Saturday and Sunday - unless it is the will of a vast majority of the clubs.  

However, clubs that believe that their square and or outfield will not be fit for play have been told to notify the league by 10pm today.

The league have said: "The management board have decided to issue a statement to all member clubs regarding the scheduled for the weekend of 21 and 22 April, as many clubs have been facing significant challenges in preparing their cricket field and square for the start of the season due to the recent inclement weather.

"This has led to suggestions that the start of the season should be put back a week or moved to an alternative date during the scheduled season or following the last round of matches in September.

"The board have carefully considered all options available, referred to previous starts to seasons when the weather has been poor and reviewed the feedback received from the players survey and club workshops.

"Delaying the start of the season would create major problems due to the work involved in reformulating the fixtures for a second time (after the late withdrawal of Cullingworth's second team), plus all the umpires' appointments would need to be reworked.

"Switching the round of fixtures to a Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday was also considered but the feedback from players was that they did not want more double-header weekends or to play on a Bank Holiday.

"Switching the games to the end of the season was an option that was looked at but our league already finishes later than some neighbouring leagues, and the main consideration here was giving groundstaff sufficient time to “put the square to bed”.

"The issue of player and umpire availability at the end of the season, due to holidays and other sporting commitments, was also a concern.

"In previous years clubs have faced similar challenges with weather prior to the start of the season and a large proportion of the scheduled fixtures have actually been completed despite of the poor lead-up to the season.

"The weather forecast for week commencing Monday 16 April is set to be dry and fair with temperatures well into double figures. so it was thought there is time for the condition of the grounds to improve before the weekend.

"Based on this, the management board concluded that moving any fixtures causes too much complexity for players, clubs, umpires and members of the league executive involved in administering the changes.

"It has therefore been decided unanimously that the full programme WILL NOT BE RE-ARRANGED.

"The league secretary has written to all club secretaries over the weekend to inform them of this decision but has also asked all clubs to respond by 10pm on Tuesday 17 April only if they believe the ground and square will not be fit for Saturday.

"The feedback from clubs will be collated and if a large proportion of clubs are struggling to prepare a wicket for the weekend then the management board will decide if the full fixture programme shall be cancelled as a strict one-off due to the exceptional circumstances or whether the fixtures will take place as scheduled under current league rules.

"We accept that this is an emotive subject and there will be some people that agree with the decision, while others will disagree but it has been reached after careful thought and consideration."