CHAIRMAN Bill Slinger hailed the close competition across the Ribblesdale League in the 2018 campaign.

Oswaldtwistle Immanuel were crowned Section A champions while Salesbury won Section B, with Brinscall claiming the second promotion spot.

No side across the two tiers lost fewer than three games with many of the sides evenly-matched.

And Slinger felt that competitive nature across the competition had led to a fine season of cricket.

“I think the first half of the season suited the batsman and the second half suited the bowlers,” he said.

“There have been some really good scores, Settle posted more than 400 and a lot of clubs made more than 300.

“It has been a good standard of cricket and a good season.”

“The three major cup competitions were won by three different sides which is good to see,” said Slinger.

Padiham won the Ramsbottom Cup while the T20 competition will be played next May after being called off three times due to wet weather.

On that decision, Slinger said: “We tried three times to get it on but you can’t compete against the weather.

“You want everything to work for the final and we were trying to be fair to Salesbury as hosts to give them a chance to get everything in place off the pitch such as the catering.

“Ultimately we made the decision we felt was best, we were in consultation with the clubs and this was seen as the best option.

“We could have tried pushing it back a week but the weather wasn’t actually any better then.

“Possibly we could have attempted to get it done on the second of the three weekends but there was no guarantee.

“We want the final to be financially beneficial and also to be a good spectacle and hopefully in May next year, on Bank Holiday weekend with some good weather, it will be.”

He added: “We will never make a decision that pleases everyone, we are all volunteers and are trying to do our best for everyone.”

The format for the two cup competitions will be discussed at the league’s annual general meeting later this year.

Both had group formats prior to knockout stages in 2018 although some have called for the Ramsbottom Cup in particular to be a straight knockout.

Slinger added: “My personal view is that the Ramsbottom Cup should stay as it is because it keeps teams involved for longer, but these decisions will all be taken at the AGM.”

The junior league will welcome Chatburn next year following a move over from the Craven League while a number of other sides have expressed an interest in joining the junior league but none will be admitted before 2020 at the earliest.