LOCAL cricket leagues have confirmed that competitions below county level will not return before 1st August.
After an urgent meeting with the ECB last week, the decision was made to continue the original suspension which leaves the cricket season with only one month to play matches.
On a national level, recreational cricket remains suspended, which means that apart from the exceptions which were added to on 5th June – nets, group activity and coaching of no more than six people – no cricket activity is able to take place.
The ECB continues to make representations to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to explore ways in which cricket at the recreational level can be made safe.
While cricket fans around Hampshire will be pleased with the recent announcement regarding the restart of the England national team on 8th July against the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl, and county club fixtures starting no sooner than 1st August, this does not apply to the recreational game.
The ECB has made clear in regular calls with parties that, if the recreational game is to return at any point in 2020, it will likely be done using a phased approach and in keeping with strict guidelines.
At the local level, both the Hampshire League and Southern Premier League have now confirmed, as per their previous communications to their member clubs that promotion and relegation will not apply for the 2020 season.
Both leagues are committed to supporting clubs in providing some level of cricket – if and when the government permits it.
On 3rd June, as part of a regular ECB Premier League call, it was made clear that while the current suspension remains in place, options for the future must be considered.
The current thinking is that activity in groups of six should be the first thing, with group sizes increasing in line with government decisions. Guidance on group cricket activity, including coaching, has been released by the ECB.
Actual match play in a different format is at least a month away – but at this time, the current suspension of recreational cricket remains in place.