BRADFORD Moor have had mixed fortunes ahead of the 2021 Dales Council League season.

After months of worry over where they would play, they have finally come to an agreement that they will groundshare with Cookridge at Redrow.

But both they and Halifax Direct will start the season with a 40-point deduction (the equivalent of two victories with full bonus points) for misdemeanours that occurred in the 2019 campaign.

Meanwhile, the league have opted to play 40 overs per innings for the whole of the 2021 season.

Despite the prospect of cricketing lockdown restrictions being lifted partway through the season – such as the return of cricket teas and clubhouses being fully opened - the league have decided that it will be simpler to keep to the same 80-over games as per their last campaign.

With locked clubhouses, apart from toilets, and sanitisation breaks being part of the initial routine when the season starts on April 17, talk of going back to 45 overs for each innings, as in 2019, was quickly scotched.

However, there was some good news at the pre-season league meeting, which was held on Zoom, for the ever-decreasing band of umpires.

The fees that they will receive per match will be back up to 2019 levels - £35 if they attend a match with a colleague and £50 if they are flying solo, compared to £32 and £44 respectively in 2019.

Umpiring numbers are now down to just 10, and umpires’ delegate Paul Whiteley said: “We will need umpires.

“Maybe clubs that have a bye on a Saturday could help out, and I am sure that Maria Vasudev (umpires’ appointments secretary) will welcome them.

“I think that we have lost umpires to other leagues because they can get more money there.”

And while Bradford Moor will ground share with Cookridge, Crompark will not have enough players to field their second team in Division A.

League secretary Ron Mackenzie said: “They have only got about four players and will therefore be deemed to have been suspended for the 2021 season in the same way as Morley thirds.

“If either side do not come back at the annual meeting later this year - and both will start in Division C if they do - they will be deemed to have resigned.”

The hopefully temporary demise of Crompark seconds means that two clubs will be promoted from Division B and C this season, but only one team will be relegated from both Division A and B.

With the fixtures having already been published, each team that were due to face Crompark seconds will have a free week.

After some teams opted out of playing during the shortened Covid-19 interrupted 2020 season, Leeds Sikh A and B have returned, as have Muff Field B.

Meanwhile, New Farnley Academy will ground share with Rodley at the Greyhound at Tong, while Drighlington have asked permission to approach another league.

Annual league subscriptions will return to the 2019 level of £70, and bowlers will be restricted to a maximum of 11 overs per innings, with 20 overs per innings being the minimum to constitute a match.

Teams in Division C will only play 18 games (in Division A it will be 20 and in Division B 22), while every club in the league can apply for NatWest sanitisation packs from the ECB.

A minute’s silence was held before the league meeting started in memory of former New Farnley batsman Gary Sowden.