THE Thatchers Cider Ribblesdale League begins on Saturday and chairman Bill Slinger has called for common sense and patience.

With ECB protocols to follow – including restricted use of changing rooms and no spectators – Slinger admits clubs will have to play a waiting game before the season returns to anything close to normal.

Rules also include players and umpires having to turn up changed and ready to take to the field and also bring their own refreshments. And as part of the Government road map, spectators will not be allowed until the next easing of restrictions on May 17.

But Slinger hopes everyone can look at the bigger picture and is hoping to get in a full season of cricket.

“The main thing is that we are playing cricket and it would be churlish of us to complain too much about spectators not being allowed in just yet and other restrictions given just what the pandemic has done to people across the world,” he said.

“I know exactly how important takings across the bar are for clubs in our league but if we stick to the rules set out, then hopefully it will only be a month before fans are allowed in.

“We have been in constant contact with the clubs who are all following the guidelines and have carried out the risk assessments that they have been asked to do.

“So we just ask for some common sense and patience at this stage.”

The league will kick off with a new sponsor while it will have just one division of 13 teams instead of the previous two divisions following Euxton’s decision to join the Palace Shield.

It means each team will play 24 games and have two free dates – with champions Settle sitting out the opening round of matches.

The Ramsbottom Cup and the Lawrenson Cups return having not been played last season due to the late start to the season and concentration on league.

The 20/20 competition reverts to its usual format of two groups playing each other on Thursday and Friday evenings with the top four from each group qualifying for the quarter finals with the semi-final and final taking place on finals day.

The league has four representatives in the slimmed down Lancashire Knockout Cup – Read go to Birkenhead, Salesbury host Flixton and in an all-Ribblesdale affair Padiham welcome Settle with all teams looking to get through to the last 16 in this prestigious competition which will have its final on the County Ground at Old Trafford.

In the Junior Division One and Two, promotion and relegation returns after being suspended for last season due to playing only half a season.


Read v Feniscowles, Padiham v Baxenden, Salesbury v Cherry Tree, Whalley v Ribblesdale Wanderers, Oswaldtwistle v Earby, Brinscall v Barnoldswick.

Free date: Settle