Pandemic set to bowl out local cricket's chances of a June start

Pandemic set to bowl out local cricket's chances of a June start

By David Beddows | 30/04/2020

Pandemic set to bowl out local cricket's chances of a June start

CHANCES of local cricket starting at the end of June are receding along with the prospect of promotion and relegation in leagues.

The ECB Yorkshire South Premier League and South Yorkshire Senior League put out a joint statement at the start of the Covid-19 crisis outlining their desire to play half a season, beginning on June 28 for the YSPL and July 4 for the SYSL.

The two leagues cover the bulk of Rotherham clubs.

Although local officials expect to hear fresh instructions from the English Cricket Board after May 7, the chances of competitive cricket being played before July are much smaller than they were six weeks ago.

Roger Pugh, chairman of the ECB Yorkshire South Premier League, said: “There are a quite a few people who believe we will be lucky to play half a season, the way things are.

“The big issue for us is that because of the coronavirus restrictions clubs probably won't be able to use their clubhouse facilities which is going to make it very difficult for them to play.

“They often use the income they get from the bar and refreshments to help meet the costs of staging a game.

“We are currently collating information from clubs about how they would stand if we get the go ahead to play and what would suit them and is there a point at which play really isn't practical?

“We are also asking what the health of clubs will be starting in 2021 and that will inform what we plan to do for the rest of the season once and if we get the go-ahead to play.

“I hope after this week we will be able to rule out one or two things and be able to say that if we aren't playing at a certain point then it is unlikely we will or whether we may be able to play a cup competition or T20 tournament.”

While the retention of promotion and relegation would have added a competitive edge to a truncated season, it appears there is no great appetite for clubs either going up or down on the basis of a comparatively small number of matches.

Mr Pugh added: “While this is not categoric, I would have to say that promotion and relegation this season is at most unlikely.

“I personally can't see it happening and I know that David Ward, chairman of the South Yorkshire Senior League, is of a similar view to me.

“Some of our clubs are quite strongly against promotion and relegation. Of 12 clubs in our league, we have had 11 responses and ten of them don't want it.

“That decision isn't entirely ours to make. We can't say one or the other without agreeing with the SYSL because they promote into our league and they relegate out of it.

“It is down to the two leagues.”

Tribute to Treeton Cricket Club's oldest supporter, 99-year-old Cyril Elliott.