Clubs get green light to play from the ECB

Cricket: Re­stric­tions re­laxed to al­low re­turn of re­cre­ational cricket

Windsor & Eton Express - - Sport -

Re­cre­ational clubs have been given the green light to re­turn to 11-a-side cricket, pro­vided they fol­low so­cial dis­tanc­ing and hy­giene guide­lines.

This week the Eng­land and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) was pleased to sig­nal a pro­gres­sion from step 3 to step 4 on the roadmap for the re­turn of the re­cre­ational game, and sev­eral lo­cal sides – in­clud­ing Cookham Dean and Maiden­head & Bray CC – were lin­ing up friendly matches this week­end in re­sponse to this.

There are var­i­ous new pro­to­cols play­ers will need to abide by, both be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter the game, but most will be ea­ger to im­ple­ment these if it al­lows them to play com­pet­i­tive cricket again.

The matches can be 11-a-side but play­ers must at­tempt to re­main so­cially dis­tant dur­ing play.

They’ll have to bring their own equip­ment to games and no sweat or saliva is al­lowed to be ap­plied to the ball dur­ing the game.

The wicket keeper and slip field­ers must stay at least one me­tre away from each other/the bats­man and bat­ters have to run in ‘distinct run­ning lines’ to en­sure they are not within two me­tres of oth­ers.

Clubs are ad­vised to ad­here to the lat­est gov­ern­ment ad­vice in terms of the use of club­house and chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties, but it is ex­pected play­ers will ar­rive and leave in their kits to min­imise the need to use these fa­cil­i­ties.

Dave Brooks, a player at Cookham Dean CC, said: “I think there were in­di­ca­tions last week, when we had the u-turn from Gov­ern­ment, that 11-a-side would work.

“But the most wel­come part of the an­nounce­ment is them say­ing, as long as you can do this in a safe man­ner, you can play what­ever form of cricket you want to play, against who­ever you want to play against. But this is what safe looks like.

“We've now got to make sure we've got all the right pro­to­cols in place to seg­re­gate play­ers from spec­ta­tors. We'll have six se­nior men's teams out this week­end, four on Satur­day and two on Sun­day.

“We've got a women and girls com­pe­ti­tion run­ning on Sun­day morn­ing and we'll have two u13s games run­ning on Satur­day morn­ing, as well as all the nor­mal nets ac­tiv­ity.

“That's all be­ing geared up and we now know we can de­liver that, and the de­mand for cricket from both our younger and older mem­bers has been in­cred­i­ble.”

So far there’s been no of­fi­cial re­sponse from the Thames Val­ley Cricket League to the up­dated guid­ance from the ECB, how­ever, it is hop­ing to run a nine-match sea­son, start­ing from July 18.

There won’t be any rel­e­ga­tion or pro­mo­tion from the di­vi­sions, or penal­ties im­posed if teams have to for­feit matches.

The win/lose for­mat matches will be played over either 40/45 overs, and the sea­son could either be ex­tended, or ex­tra games played on the Au­gust Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day, to ac­com­mo­date the fix­tures.

The Home Coun­ties League are in the pro­cess of ar­rang­ing a mini league where clubs would play eight games on a re­gional ba­sis.

But the de­tails of this are still be­ing worked through.

On Wed­nes­day the ECB tweeted: “We are in the pro­cess of brief­ing across the game to al­low prepa­ra­tion to take place ahead of the week­end. Our new guide­lines will al­low for com­pet­i­tive 11-aside cricket with no man­dated for­mat in terms of overs.

“There will be ad­di­tional adap­ta­tions to ac­count for hy­giene and so­cial dis­tanc­ing.”

Last week the ECB said it was de­lighted by the Gov­ern­ment’s change of heart over the re­turn of re­cre­ational cricket.

Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son had cast doubt over the game’s re­turn when he called a cricket ball ‘a vec­tor of disease’, but af­ter dis­cus­sions with the ECB it was agreed mea­sures could be put in place to mit­i­gate the risk of spread­ing the disease.

Cookham Dean were pre­par­ing to put on a range of friendly matches for their play­ers this week­end.

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