League Season Cancelled
Today we recieved further update from Gary Stanley, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Sussex Cricket League:
"You will doubtless have seen the 'Roadmap for the Return of Recreational Cricket' published by the ECB last week. The roadmap is a 5 Step plan to recreational cricket starting up again, with the current position being Step 3. The key piece of information required was the date at which we could go to Step 4, which was described as 'adapted gameplay'. Broadly speaking, this is cricket matches adapted to the Covid-19 environment. On the ECB call this week, it was made clear that two pieces of Government advice are required for the ECB to move the Step 4, being clearance for recreational team sport to recommence and an increase to at least 15 in the size of gatherings allowed (it is currently 6). Simply put, that has not happened yet and we do not expect it in the next week or so. Therefore, the Executive Committee cannot tell you today that league play will be able to start on 11th July and so we have no option but to abandon the 'half season' plan. In its place, we are going to offer the following options for our Clubs:
We are putting together an 'August Cup' that is tailored to how we think Stage 4 is going to look. It will be based around shorter formats (likely T20), local matches (given the issues with car sharing) and social distancing measures on and off the pitch - the ECB are currently formulating guidance around Stage 4 and this will hopefully be available in final form around the end of June. We envisage groups of 6/7 teams (so 5/6 matches each), aligned by location and broad ability level, with a finals event for group winners in early September. Entry is entirely optional, it is simply our best effort to provide some meaningful competitive cricket in the circumstances we find ourselves in. Current plan is for the August Cup to start on 1st August, but this will need to flex based on when cricket can start.
If you are not interested in the August Cup, everyone has an existing set of league fixtures from 11th July that can be played as friendlies. They will stay on Play Cricket for ease of reference, but it will be up to you to arrange between you. Of course, these will also be in 'adapted play' format as and when that is allowed. If your scheduled fixture cannot be played because of travel distance or the opponent not wanting to play, we will try within reason to help you arrange alternate fixtures.
A mixture of the above or, if you wish, no cricket at all.
"It is of course possible that, by 11th July, we will have clearance to play some cricket. However, everyone will have different lead in times for their ground to be ready. Some clubs could probably play tomorrow, others will require several weeks, especially those relying on local authorities. For some clubs, you might get some friendlies in July, perhaps before entering the August Cup. Others may wish not to play at all. The Executive Committee respects the wishes of all Clubs and recognises that you all have different circumstances.
"Once we know how many teams are entering the August Cup, we will put more meat on the bones. More information will be provided on the Sussex Cricket Foundation Club Webinar on Wednesday 24th June from 7.30pm. We would encourage ALL clubs to dial in to hear key updates from Sussex Cricket & the ECB as we move steadily towards a return to play."