But they are determined to do something about the issue.
Both the Bradford Premier League itself and the Match Officials Association have stepped up their efforts to increase the number of qualified umpires by announcing two new courses.
In a letter to clubs, league chief executive Alan Birkinshaw said: “While a lot of work is being put in to attracting new members to join the MOA panel, it is also important that the league encourages the upskilling of club umpires.
“In 2023, the indications are that all second team cricket will be staffed by club umpires and the league wants all clubs to get to a position by 2024 of having at least one club umpire with an ECB ACO Stage One qualification.”
The league is keen to have qualified umpires taking charge of second team cricket and it is offering to reimburse the course fees for every club umpire once they achieve accreditation.
Course fees will also be refunded to those joining the MOA Panel once they have umpired 10 games.
It has also indicated that, if there is a shortage of panel umpires in any particular week, a qualified club umpire can be part of the officiating team at their club’s first team game to avoid the need for players to take turns to take on square leg duties, which is what happened in Division Three last season.
Birkinshaw added: “The league understands that many people wish only to umpire at and for their own club.
“By taking the course, there will be no obligation to join the MOA panel, however, if individuals want to step up and move on to the panel they will be supported to do so.”
A Stage One course has been organised at New Farnley Cricket Club on Sunday 19th February 2023 and will take place between 9:30am and 4:30pm.
A Stage Two course is being held at New Farnley the following weekend, on Sunday, February 26, with timings again 9:30am to 4:30pm.
Once again there will be free tea, coffee and lunch provided, with the Bradford Premier League encouraging as many club umpires as possible to do both courses as it will enhance their understanding and skills.
When candidates enrol for the Stage One course they will receive a discount code for the Stage Two course, which will mean they only have to play £10.
Before the season, the league, in conjunction with the MOA, is looking to stage a roadshow for club umpires in March.
For 2023, there are new laws which will need to be implemented and Duckworth Lewis Stern is being introduced in all matches played under the jurisdiction of the Gordon Rigg Bradford Premier League.
There will also be refresher training sessions for existing members of the MOA Umpiring panel.
The letter to clubs concluded: “Club umpires play an increasingly important role, and it is essential as a league that we acknowledge that with appropriate help and support.
“The league has preferred to use the carrot rather than the stick over the issue of the provision of umpires.
“Previous appeals for help have met with only very limited response. Let’s all try and make a real difference this time.
“If we can have qualified umpires standing in all second team cricket through persuasion rather than the big stick, that will be a huge step in the right direction.”
The two courses are ECB ACO accredited and are advertised nationally so it is important to book places early.
If there is sufficient demand, extra courses will be put on.