June 2020

Return to Cricket

In recent weeks, we have written countless plans and numerous communications only to find a rewrite has become necessary.

Here we are again! Social distancing was relaxed further this week but cricket didn’t get the green light we were all hoping for just yet. None the less we are still optimistic and we would ask for clubs to start to get ready, should the green light come. Most clubs in our early lockdown survey indicated they would need a three week lead time so here we are.

We've put together an initial question & answer set. This is not exhaustive information plus some of it may well change as ECB & Government guidance updates but we are wanting to set out key principles so clubs can start thinking and planning in their committees.  In particular, we invite clubs to brief players to expect there to be opportunities for competitive cricket before the end of this summer and to look for availability. Clubs can hopefully also work to ensure that pitches and grounds are ready.

With everything crossed for now. More to come as soon as possible.
The Surrey Championship & Surrey County League Committees

Q: When will league cricket start?
A: There is no confirmed date for recreational cricket to resume but at this point, we would like to be ready to play league fixtures from Saturday 25th July.

Q: If our club is ready to play cricket before league competitions, what then?
A: Depending on when the government allows match-play to start, clubs may have time for, and welcome, a couple of weeks of friendlies with local opposition and old rivals. Other sections of your club will also want cricket we are certain.

Q: The ECB have advised against significant travel for games. What measures are being put in place to minimise travel?
A; We will create brand new regionalised divisions for all current 1st & 2nd teams (across both the Surrey Championship and Surrey County League). In this model, both teams will be playing the same opposition on the same weekend, one home the other away. 

Q: How will the fixtures be created if we can’t play existing planned matches?
A: We will create new fixtures, to be played on Saturdays by default. By agreement of the clubs, these can also be played on an alternative date but we do not intend to schedule games on Sundays or the August Bank Holiday Monday to extend our competition. We want to support clubs in organising other cricket which meets the needs of the whole membership including Juniors, Ladies, other leagues and so on.

Q: If we can raise more than 2 teams, what options are there for those players?
A: Centrally organising 3rd, 4th or 5th team games in such a tight timescale is significantly challenging with too many unknowns at this point. Clubs are encouraged to think about using the provided divisional structure, once published, to arrange cricket, perhaps on 2nd grounds or Sundays.  It might be that the leagues can help identify clubs with additional teams to help strike fixtures. At the same time, we also wish to avoid putting pressure on clubs who may not be able to raise more than 2 teams easily.

Q: What format of cricket will we play?
A:  We expect NGB guidance will require the fixtures to be short format: with no lunch or tea to be supplied by either club.

Q: How many people will make up a team?
A: Changes in social distancing requirements just announced may mean that matches could be 11-a-side either from the start of the competition or at some stage subsequently but this cannot currently be guaranteed. At all stages, we will aim for as large a number as social distancing allows.

Q: What will the rules & playing conditions be?
A: The precise playing conditions will be determined once the ECB “adapted-cricket” regs are published. We will ask clubs to adhere to the spirit of the rules of the Championship & County League as applicable although we expect to reduce the administrative burden on clubs as well as the league so some of the requirements of our playing conditions will be temporarily disapplied. We will publish further detailed guidance in due course.

Q: What about Officials for matches?
A: We expect some of the panel umpires will be available but not all. As previously notified it is not the league’s intention to ask any club for league fees for 2020 so usual processes will be changed. Additional clubs umpires may be needed across the divisions.

Q: What about the cricket balls we’ve paid for?
A: There will be a socially distanced ball collection event. We will send full details under separate cover with key information to all clubs. Confirmation of attendance will be required.

Q: What will the outcome of the competition structure be for the Surrey Championship?
A: There will be no promotion or relegation from our competitions this year in our standalone AJ Fordham Challenge Cup 2020 but we will recognise the winner of each division at the end of the year. We very much hope this can be in person but that bridge will be crossed in due course.

To close, please be assured that we are doing everything that we can to ensure there is as much great cricket as we can, for as many players as we can. Like all volunteer workforces, we wish we could do more but as ever there are practical limitations on us all which we know you will understand. We will be back in touch with our next update with practical details should the green light come and allow us to turn these principles into further action.
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