Stumps pulled on traditional tea
The traditional cricket tea may be in jeopardy after England’s largest league told clubs that from next summer it will no longer be mandatory to serve refreshments for players between innings.
The Sussex Cricket League, which comprises 335 teams from 140 clubs, announced that it will now be up to individual clubs to decide if they want to provide the normal selection of cakes, scones, sandwiches and pies during the interval.
Clubs will only be mandated to offer hot and cold drinks to players.
The announcement comes after traditional teas were scrapped in all recreational leagues and friendly matches last summer as a coronavirus precaution, forcing players to bring in their own food.
Although many clubs consider the provision of snacks as a key part of the game, some are finding it hard to afford them after their finances were hit by a decline in regular players and a sharp reduction in proceeds at club bars even before Covid-19.
‘‘Lots of clubs, and this was proposed by six or seven of them, came to us and said: we want to propose that the obligation to provide teas for 2021 is removed,’’ Gary Stanley, the chairman of the Sussex League, told BBC Sport. ‘‘This is only for 2021 – it can be changed for the following season.’’
A number of clubs which opposed the vote have already declared their intention to continue serving teas as normal.
‘‘We will unilaterally disregard the outcome of this vote,’’ said Preston Nomads Cricket Club. ‘‘We encourage other clubs to follow suit.’’
Clubs have agreed to a slight increase in the match fee for umpires, to cover the cost of their own teas.