Cricket during the Coronavirus pandemic - will we see any action this summer?
- Credit: Archant
There’s ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for cricketers with the news that some leagues in the country have announced plans to begin their seasons in July, writes Stephen Birley.
The Herts Cricket League have announced that they have set their sights on a July date to finally kick the season off – and have made further decisions on how any new campaign will look.
The easing of some lockdown restrictions by the government earlier this month led to the ECB announcing tentative first steps for the return of cricketing activities.
The first among those was the allowing of net practices, albeit under strict guidelines.
Recreational cricket remains suspended but following a survey distributed among their clubs, of which over 80 per cent responded, the Herts Cricket League clubs have drawn up their own roadmap to resumption.
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The league said: “Subject to government and ECB guidance, we intend to start the league season on July 11.
“Most clubs have said that they could play beyond the normal league season and we have decided that the latest possible date that we could start, and get nine games in, would be July 25.
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“Clubs who lose their grounds would have to play away for the last two games.
“All matches would be under the limited overs format.”
They also said that there will be no promotion or relegation across the board except for the top two divisions.
The 20 clubs there, which include the likes of defending champions Potters Bar, Welwyn Garden City, Radlett, Harpenden, Reed and Letchworth, would be asked to vote on whether they would want one up and one down.
For that to happen 14 of them would have to be in favour.
The league continued: “We do intend to award trophies as usual to all divisional winners and there will be no fines for cancellations as there may be ground availability issues as well as player availability issues related to self-isolation.
“Lastly if we get the green light from the government and ECB there will be, as with the opening of net practice, a number of stringent conditions which we do not intend to speculate on here.
“We must wait and see but we think it is important to have a plan in mind.”
They also said if they get the go-ahead to start in July then it will leave only a short period to get the pitches ready for action and so they wanted groundstaff at each club to be aware that there will have to be “some preparation in anticipation of a start on July 11”.
The Devon League ‘second-half-of-the-season’, under normal circumstances, would begin on Saturday, July 4.
It remains to be seen if we will see local league cricket in Devon this summer – we can but hope!