Cricket clubs eye late July restart as they wait on final plans for competition in 2020
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Clubs in the Tolchards Devon League should know by the end of this week what sort of cricket they will be able to play once competitive action starts.
July 25 has been pencilled in as the likely day for competitive cricket to start and Devon League officials have confirmed they want to have something in place for clubs on that date.
Exactly what clubs will be able to play remains unknown as the ECB has not yet issued parameters or guidelines to leagues.
Tom Popham, the North Devon captain, was among the first skippers to react to the news that cricket is back on the sporting timetable.
“It will be great to be able to have some cricket back and to help clubs get back on track and to get players playing again,” said Popham.
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“I hope some form of local competitions can be arranged, but everyone at present is still in the dark as to what is capable and doable.”
Mark Lake, the captain of Premier Division new boys Hatherleigh, feared there might not be enough cricket to go round for teams at second team level and below.
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It has already been established that not every club in the league with more than one team will enter all of them in any competition run by the league.
“I am all in favour of getting as much cricket in as possible,” said Lake.
“I think there is a lot of sorting out to do and finding cricket for clubs who have three sides wanting cricket will be difficult to start with.
“Negatives will be not being allowed in a clubhouse and of teams having to take lots of vehicles to away matches. But let’s get back playing.”
Nick Rogers, the chairman of the Tolchards Devon League, hopes the format situation will become clearer by the end of the week once a video conference with ECB officials has taken place.
“We have now reached step four on the ECB roadmap, but ECB have not said yet what return to play with some adaptions means,” said Rogers.
“There will be have to be some social distancing restrictions between players and that wicketkeepers might have to stand at least half a metre back from the stumps.
“All we know for certain is there will be some fielding restrictions and that adaptive cricket will be 11-a-side.”
The ECB management are due to spell out what is and is not permitted under the step-four guidelines during a Zoom conference with league chairman on Wednesday (July 8).
Rogers said league officials have been considering a number of options for competitive cricket for a shortened competition running from late July into early September.
Among the suggestions are five-team geographical conferences based on existing divisions (Premier East and Premier West), localised T20 festivals with a midweek option, or grouping clubs into mixed-ability divisions based on proximity.