You will all no doubt be aware that ECB has called a halt to all forms of cricket and cricket activities for the foreseeable future. As a consequence the planned League Management Meeting in April has been cancelled.
Everyone connected with the league, be they players, administrators, umpires, scorers, groundsmen or just spectators will be hugely disappointed, but I am sure that we all recognise that the decision was inevitable given the unique circumstances that we are currently experiencing.
Questions are already appearing on Social Media – when can we resume? The answer is that no one knows at present. You may be assured that we will resume normal service as soon as practically possible.
We will review the position at regular intervals and in line with Government information and advice.
If cricket does start, then we will obviously have truncated competitions in whatever form they might take given the time left in the season. We understand that clubs will be impacted by the current crisis in many different ways and also recognise that any truncated competition is more significantly impacted by weather. Consequently, we believe that because of this uncertainty the 2021 league season will start with every team in the same division as they were at the start of the 2020 season to ensure fairness and to positively discourage irresponsibility. This also applies to the interface between us and the Cheshire League.
Defining our thinking this early allows both the League and its member clubs to manage the many elements impacting players and officials, particularly those at highest risk without having to be concerned about playing performance.
It is important that we do our utmost to keep all our clubs alive, and our grounds are not allowed to deteriorate. I have asked the Cheshire Groundsman’s Association to keep an eye out for possible situations where elderly groundsmen cannot carry out their usual duties due to the current crisis, and to assist wherever possible to keep the playing areas up to standard even if we are not actually playing on them.
We are also concerned about the financial impact of the current situation on clubs and therefore we can tell you that Readers will not be delivering or invoicing cricket balls until there is a playing need to do so. The Lords pink balls are still in Pakistan where they are manufactured and they will be asked to keep balls until further notice. We are yet to contact Dukes as to what options are available, but when we do a similar outcome is hoped for.
These times are without precedent, and you may be assured that the League’s officers are there to offer advice and guidance if needed.