You will all know that around 5.00pm on Friday recreational cricket got the green light to resume from the 11th July. What you may not know is that the ECB meeting with all the Premier leagues to allow this to happen is not scheduled to take place until the afternoon of this coming Wednesday 8th July.
We expect to be told then what the rules are that will allow us to play. Although some weeks ago we asked clubs to prepare for a potential start on 11th July, we believe it would be impractical for the league season to start next week. Two other leagues, to our knowledge, have already indicated that they will start on 18th July, and we believe that to be the earliest for league matches to begin in accordance with the fixture list on 18th July.
Other details, relating to many relevant matters (cricket balls, grounds and player availability and perhaps an option for games to be played on Sundays if grounds are not available on Saturday) will follow over the next few days and particularly after the ECB meeting on Wednesday.
The league committee is meeting later today to discuss the above and other matters, and we will get back to all clubs as soon as we can after the ECB meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is delighted that the UK Government has given the green light for recreational cricket in England* to return from Saturday 11 July.
The latest update from the UK Government signals progression from Step 3 to Step 4 of ECB’s roadmap to return for the recreational game, meaning competitive cricket matches in England with adjustments to respect hygiene and social distancing would be permitted.
ECB has maintained a constant dialogue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) throughout this process and the UK Government have stated that COVID-secure guidance will be published in the coming days.
Guidelines are already prepared for the return of recreational cricket and following the Prime Minister’s comments, will now be finalised and published early next week.
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.
"As the nation's summer sport we believe we have a role to play in getting people active across the country, especially young people, and it is heartening to know that club cricket – albeit with social distancing in place and some other adaptations – will soon be back across England."
The ECB has identified five steps for the proposed phased return of the recreational game in England this summer.
England is currently in step 3 – which allows for small group training sessions of up to six people while respecting social distancing.
As cricket is a non-contact sport that involves individual disciplines within a team environment, forms of the game can be played while respecting social distancing. We will continue to be led by UK government advice and will only move into step 4 when the guidance allows and when it is medically safe to do so.
Following recent updates in Government guidance on the allowance of small group sizes (now up to six individuals) that group training sessions are returning to Ascots Lane from Tuesday 9th June 2020.
This update allows for individuals and small groups (of up to six people) to remain safe, whilst undertaking recreational cricket activity, and informal cricket in an outdoor environment. However, it should be noted that all competitive recreational cricket matches remain suspended until further notice and as such this update does not permit participation in cricket matches within or between clubs.
Here are few of the new changes to note:
The committee has worked tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure our net facilities are safely accessible & supervised whilst making preparations to open up the clubs facilities further as restrictions are lifted. It is with great excitement that group training returns this week alongside the introduction of Saturday Morning bowling machine sessions.
As per the ECB guidance, before attending sessions, you will need to book a session online. Please see booking link below.
Tuesday Night Group training (max 6 per group)- 6pm-8pm.
Saturday Morning- Bowling machine sessions. 10-12pm
The purpose of these guidelines is to offer practical guidance to players and clubs on the steps they should take while undertaking recreational cricket activity and informal cricket activity in an outdoor environment given the current restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The key update in the guidance is the allowance of small group sizes (now up to six individuals), however a number of other subtle but important changes are listed throughout the document.
Consistent with UK Government guidance published on 1 June 2020 relating to the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England, the following applies to outdoor cricket:
Detailed guidance in relation to outdoor cricket activity can be found here.
Since our last update there have been regular communications from the ECB, CCC and County to all clubs, and we are grateful to all of you who returned your club’s responses to our short survey.
Format Over 80% of clubs responded to the survey and there were many helpful comments and suggestions made. There was a majority in favour of no promotion or relegation this season. There is one caveat to that, and that relates to the Premier and Championship divisions where under 11.e) of our constitution no decision by member clubs affecting the structure of the top two divisions shall be made without the majority of the clubs in those divisions supporting it. Therefore we will send out to the top twenty clubs a simple question asking whether they wish there to be one club relegated from the Premier to the Championship and one club relegated from the Championship to Division One with corresponding promotions from the Championship and Division One. There will be a number of conditions attached to that proposal. Broadly, as we indicated in our last update and subject to the Government and ECB guidance, we intend to start the league season on 11th July. 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 in 9 games) would be 25th July and some clubs who lose their grounds would have to play away for the last two games. Because of possible weather and Covid-19 cancellations, there would have to be a minimum of 7 games played. All matches would be under the limited overs format. To reiterate, this question is asked of the top twenty clubs and we will require 14 of those 20 to be in favour for there to be promotion and relegation as suggested. All other divisional league games would take place without promotion and relegation, but we do intend to award trophies as usual to all divisional winners. Clearly 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.
Grounds & Pitches If we are allowed to play from 11th July, we will clearly need properly prepared pitches to play on. Unlike the professional game, we are unlikely to have three or four weeks' notice of the start and therefore clubs are asked to bear in mind that if we do go ahead there may be only a short period of time between a 'yes' and actually starting. So please ask your groundsmen to understand that there will have to be some preparation in anticipation of a start on 11th July. If that work turns out to be in vain, we are afraid there is nothing we can do about that.
Cricket Balls As anticipated in our last update, the ECB’s charitable arm has announced an interest-free loan scheme to allow clubs and leagues to buy cricket balls for this season but not to have to pay for them until May 2021. So the offer made by us previously (requiring clubs to pay for 35% of their balls this year) will no longer apply as,in effect, the ECB will buy the balls and clubs will have to repay the loan by next May. The actual details are still to be finalised in that Readers will not be back at work until June and we have to negotiate with them as to how many balls will be purchased and how we will get them to the clubs but either way you will have no ball purchase costs this year. More details will follow. Those clubs that have already paid the league will get their money returned this week.
That is all we have at the moment. Further updates will follow when we have more to tell you.
|Saturday 18th July 2020|
|1st XI||vs.||Bishop's Stortford II||Away||13:00|
|2nd XI||vs.||Allenburys & County Hall II||Ascots Lane||13:00|
|This Weeks Teams|
|Saturday 7th September 2019|
|1st XI||Cheshunt Rosedale 220-5, H&C 108||Lost by 112 runs|
|2nd XI||H&C 153, Cheshunt Rosedale II 155-2||Lost by 8 wickets|