Barnstaple and Pilton are among the Devon clubs to benefit from a £600,000 emergency fund to keep them going during the Covid-19 crisis

When the Devon Cricket Board surveyed clubs in early April about their fears it was the financial hit of a cancelled, or significantly reduced season that concerned them most.

Three sources of crisis funding soon opened up and clubs in Devon wasted no time getting their applications in.

Barnstaple and Pilton were entitled to a grant from Sport England’s Community Emergency Fund. Around £45,000 was paid out in Devon and Barnstaple had the top grant of £5,000.

First team captain Lee Cole said the grant from Sport England was ‘very useful’.

Cole added: “There is no income coming into the club but bills still need to be paid.

“We used to hire our clubhouse out to a disabled group twice a week, but that has now stopped.

“And to top it off the gang mowers broke last week, which is going to cost us.”

Barnstaple and Pilton were among the clubs survey by the Tolchards Devon League which asked how they would like to see cricket get under way in what is left of the season.

Adaptive cricket – eight players a side with wicketkeepers socially distanced from the stumps – was one of the options. Barnstaple and Pilton shared the widespread view that it was not for them.

Cole said eight-a-side cricket is a definite no for his club.

“We would not be interested in the eight-a-side games that have been mentioned as we don’t really see the point of them,” said Cole.

“Now that we only run one Saturday side in the Devon League that would mean more players in the club not having a game of cricket.

“There is no North Devon League cricket on a Sunday for the others to get a game.”

Cole said Barnstaple are far more flexible about what sort of Saturday afternoon cricket they might play (20-overs or 50-overs in micro leagues have been suggested) under the banner of the Tolchards Devon League.

“As a club would be happy with either if the Devon League is happy to continue once it’s given the go ahead from the ECB,” said Cole.

“The only problem for us being in the lower divisions is would we have people to umpire? If not we would be happy with some T20 friendlies, maybe later on in the season.”