It has been quite the day for cricket in Lockdown England!
Friday morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was on LBC Radio stating that cricket could not yet resume, stating, “There are various other considerations. The longer answer, which I think probably Chris Whitty would give, if he were here, about cricket [is that] the risk is not so much the ball, although that may be a factor. It’s the teas, it’s the changing rooms and so on and so forth. There are other factors involved that generate proximity, which you might not get in a game of tennis.”
However, by the afternoon, the ECB indicated a resumption of recreational cricket on the 11th July - releasing the following statement: "We are delighted that the UK Government have given their permission for recreational cricket to return from next weekend. We will shortly be publishing our approved guidelines to help clubs and players prepare for cricket's return".
This news does not mean that "normality" is to be resumed immediately, and rigerous social distancing measures will need to take place. It is expected that changing rooms might be out of action, players may be asked to provide their own teas individually, and regular handwashing and sanitising will be compulsary.
The initial indication is that the ECB will be moving to Stage 4 of their "roadmap to return for the recreational game". While the full details are yet to be ironed out, the original plan for stage 4 included the potential for "shorter formats to allow for more matches". Whether this means a change to the match structure, or structure of the league, remains to be seen. The ECB plans to disseminate more deatailled guidance "early next week".
What does this mean for Wyre CC?
We await further instruction. While we love the idea of playing half a league season from 11th July onwards, this aspiration is a long way off as yet and not a likely outcome. We look to our affiliated league, the Palace Shield, for guidance, and they have very helpfully issued an early statement:
"Many of you will have heard the statement from the Prime Minister that recreational cricket can restart next weekend on July 11th. He also stated that details of the steps clubs would need to take will come out in the next few days. Please note that these steps may be complex and will not necessarily mean that normal cricket is possible as soon as that.
While we await the details of what is required, we would urge all clubs to start on the final preparations on the matters we do know about - e.g. ground preparation - so that there are no unnecessary delays.
Meanwhile we still need to finalise the details for any competitions we are going to hold and so we would urge all clubs to make sure they have provided all the required information so we are ready to move when we get the actual go-ahead."
In short, it is important to recognise that they must first await ECB guidence before they can have any meaningful discussions among their executive commitee. This leaves a very tight turnaround or any kind of competitive fixture next week. It may be more realistic to consider that the league will look to a start in early August, using an altered format league, with smaller divisions playing a round Robin - leading to Semi Finals and Finals if time allows. Prior to this there may be an opportunity for one or two warm up friendlies - if we are lucky!
At this time the details are purely speculation. Watch this space at wyrecc.co.uk for updated information!
In other News:
- Nets on Saturday are cancelled - rain again (typical)! The pitch is saturated and the groundsman has asked that we don't use it. The correct call from Mark, particularly if the wicket is to be ready for play soon.
- Greggy has put out the July "Cricket Card". Lots of spaces available - £5 per play and £100 cash prize! Head on over to the Wyre CC Facebook page to play!
- Don't forget to join / sign up / register on the website! Even if you are not playing this year you can still click to join Wyre CC as a supporter only - it is free, and you will get regular updates from the club!
-If you DO want to play do not forget to fill in your membership details online via the website, and BACS through the payment to the club (The fee is reduced to £20 for all this year). Yes, it is a pain, but we need to really assist our hard-working (long suffering) club secretary Dave Lever by getting it sorted ASAP. He is just as keen as the rest of us to play and doesn't want to be chasing up memberships on the morning of our first match back! If you have any queries or need help with it don't hesitate to make contact - WyreCricketClub@gmail.com.