08:57AM, Wednesday 08 July 2020
Recreational clubs are waiting on further guidance from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) this week that will enable them to get back to playing the game they love this weekend.
Many clubs are looking to resume competitive or friendly matches from this Saturday (July 11) after the ECB announced last week that matches – with improved hygiene and social distancing measures – would be permitted from July 11.
Cookham Dean and Maidenhead & Bray Cricket Club are two such clubs waiting for further advice and information, with Cookham having lined up friendly matches across several levels and age groups this weekend.
This afternoon (Wednesday) the ECB tweeted that it would share its cricket-specific guidance for clubs and players tomorrow (Thursday).
“We are in the process of briefing across the game to allow preparation to take place ahead of the weekend,” a statement said.
“Our new guidelines will allow for competitive 11-a-side cricket, with no mandated format in terms of overs.
“There will be additional adaptations to account for hygiene and social distancing.”
If the Thames Valley Cricket League (TVCL) considers it viable, a nine-match season is set to get underway across its various divisions from Saturday, July 18.
There won’t be relegation or promotion for the teams involved – or penalties if teams forfeit their matches. All matches are likely to be win/lose and the season is set to be extended by a week to accommodate all nine matches.
Last week the ECB said it was 'delighted' by the UK Government’s change of heart on recreational cricket. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had raised doubts over the game’s return when he called the cricket ball a ‘vector of disease’.
ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said: “It will come as great news to our nation of recreational cricketers that the UK Government has given the green light for the game to return from next weekend.
“We are grateful for the support of Government to achieve this, in particular Oliver Dowden, Nigel Huddleston and those across DCMS who have helped the return of international, professional and now recreational cricket.
“We have had a responsibility throughout this period of time to work with the UK Government and to plan alongside the cricket network to try and mitigate COVID-19’s impact on the 2020 season.
“We have maintained a constant dialogue with UK Government and they've been supportive of our desire to see recreational cricket return when it is safe.
“They now agree that with appropriate measures in place to mitigate the risk, it is safe.
“We know how difficult it has been for everyone to go without cricket this summer, and we thank you for your patience.”
In light of last week's announcement the TVCL board is hopeful it can begin its reduced, nine-match season from Saturday, July 18.
Responding to ECB’s statement Matthew Stevenson, from the TVCL, said: “You will be aware that approval has now been given by HM Government for recreational cricket to resume on Saturday, July 11.
“The ECB has said that they will be issuing guidelines early next week. At the moment we are moving into stage four of the ECB’s roadmap for the return of recreational cricket which means adapted play with social distancing and shorter formers.
“When guidelines come out the management committee will look at them carefully and make a decision about whether a TVCL competition is viable.”
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