FARSLEY chairman Raymond Sutcliffe has stressed that the club felt they had no option but to controversially forfeit their Priestley Cup final against Woodlands.
Rain led to the abandonment of Sunday’s final at Undercliffe, with Bank Holiday Monday being the pre-arranged reserve date.
But Farsley subsequently informed league secretary Chris Leathley that they would be forfeiting the final as they felt that they were unable to field a suitable side – with four key players being unavailable for the reserve date.
The league said that they were ‘hugely disappointed’ with the decision and were due to address the matter with Farsley officials in a disciplinary hearing last night.
It was the first time that the famous competition, which began in 1904, has not had a final, with finals even taking place during the two world wars.
Commenting on the situation, Farsley chairman Sutcliffe told the YEP: “It is very unfortunate and sad indeed it has had to come to this, really.
We could not put a competitive side out. The league never approached us about another alternative day. It was Monday and that was it. That question was never asked, which I find disappointing really.Farsley CC chairman Raymond Sutcliffe
“From our behalf as a club, we had players who could not play (on Monday) due to commitments with Yorkshire and one with Durham.
“Another did change his holiday booking; he was due to fly out on (last) Saturday, but changed it so he could play (on Sunday).
“Our other frontline bowler, Matthew Lumb, has also not bowled for two weeks due to an injured elbow.
“We could not put a competitive side out.
“The league never approached us about another alternative day. It was Monday and that was it.
“That question was never asked, which I find disappointing really.
“There is talk of replacement players. But this is a cup final and people want to come and see a good game of cricket.
“No disrespect to the lads in the second team – and one of them is my son – but I could not just throw them into that.”
League officials insist that Farsley – who would have been without James Wainman, James Logan, Adam Ahmed and Chris Henry – knew about the reserve day all season and spoke of their sadness and disappointment at the Red Laners’ forfeiture in a statement, issued by the management board, which read: “We are extremely disappointed and saddened by Farsley’s decision to forfeit the match.
“This has never happened before and it something we never want to see repeated.
“We will be holding an investigation into Farsley’s decision. We would like to thank Undercliffe for making their facilities available and we are hugely disappointed that this famous competition is ending this way this year.”
Meanwhile, Hanging Heaton have secured their place in the final of the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy on the toss of a coin after rain washed out their semi-final with Hoylandswaine on Sunday.
It means that the Tewits will play in three successive finals on consecutive Sundays, starting with the Heavy Woollen Cup final with New Farnley at Spen Victoria this Sunday (September 2).
Gary Fellows’s side then play the winners of Sunday’s semi-final between Wakefield Thornes and Pudsey St Lawrence in the Black Sheep showpiece at Cleckheaton on Sunday, September 9.
Victory would see the Tewits become double Yorkshire champions for the first time ever.
Seven days later on September 16, Heaton are in Vitality ECB Club T20 finals-day action at Derby’s County Ground.
They will face Sussex Premier League champions Roffey in the semi-final with Norfolk side Swardeston or Cheshire-based outfit Nantwich awaiting in the final.