Clitheroe Cricket Club’s long wait to be officially declared Lancashire League champions is over

Paul Gaskell (centre) gets his hands on the Lancashire League trophy
Paul Gaskell (centre) gets his hands on the Lancashire League trophy
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Clitheroe chairman Robin Sharp is looking forward to getting back to playing cricket again, after the club were exonerated from charges of a breach of Lancashire League rules.

The Chatburn Road club won the title in their first season in the league, after making the switch from the Ribblesdale League.

However, they faced allegations that they had paid amateur players, against league rules, and had to wait to be officially declared as champions, while the disciplinary process was completed.

Clitheroe were cleared on Monday, and Sharp said: “I am extremely pleased at the result which has exonerated Clitheroe Cricket Club and its players from all charges.

“This period has been very stressful for all those involved at the club, but a thorough and exhaustive investigation by the league has shown there is no substance to the rumours and innuendo that have been circulating, on social media and elsewhere.

“I hope this will be an end to the barrage of abuse that Clitheroe players have been subject to, and that we can get back to playing cricket.”

A club statement added: “At hearing on 26 February 2018 a disciplinary panel of the Lancashire Cricket League dismissed all charges against both Clitheroe Cricket Club and its players, Kurt Robinson, Harrison Phelan and Sam Halstead, that they had breached the rules of the League by making and receiving payments to amateur players.

“The Panel said that having considered the evidence over three days of hearings and having heard from 21 witnesses, it found the charges not to have been proved. It said that it found that the people running the Club were ‘of high probity and standards’.”

The decision has been a long time coming for departing club captain Paul Gaskell but he’s glad that he can finally move on from the issue.

“I was more relieved than anything because it had completely taken over everything,” he said. “The season has never really gone away. There has been a lot of worry and it has taken a lot of hard work. It was nice to get the correct outcome. It felt like winning the league all over again when the result came through.”