Last week’s announcement by the ECB puts us as close to the ‘normal’ game as we possibly expect to be at this time in the pandemic.
In their efforts to get recreational cricket back on, the ECB, County Boards, League Executives and the Umpires Associations all repeatedly made the argument that cricket could be trusted. It was the team sport that most naturally lent itself to the disciplines of social distancing. If allowed to resume the recreational game at club level would take care of players; officials, spectators, the cricketing community and wider society.
As we begin our organised league programme this Saturday, eyes will be upon us – as witnessed by the articles in The Times last Monday. As yet, no other recreational team sport has been allowed to return. The only other way it is possible to be in a ‘bubble’ of 30 on Saturday is at a wedding. Recreational cricket has been placed in a privileged position and in a position of trust.
The game is being played in a 30-person ‘bubble’ comprising of players, match officials and coaches. Players should remain inside this ‘bubble’ and avoid bringing anyone else – family, close friends etc., inside the ‘bubble’.
No Risk Assessment – No cricket. All clubs should inform the League Secretary that their Risk Assessment is complete by 8pm Thursday 16th July. If the home club the has not confirmed their Risk Assessment is complete, allocated panel umpires will not be sent to any fixture. All all levels, both teams will be informed that the game cannot take place. Clubs with more than one ground will need a risk assessment for each.
The home team should send their matchday arrangements to both the opposition and the match umpires. Ideally this should be 48 hours before the fixture.
We have consulted with our colleagues in other leagues across the county and the consensus seems to be that changing rooms should remain closed.
The current guidelines state that:
Indoor facilities, apart from toilets and through-ways should be kept closed. When accessing and leaving toilets you should wipe down areas of contact, wash hands thoroughly and use paper towels where possible and avoid touching any surfaces in transit.
It is acknowledged that some clubs did utilise available space in their recent friendly fixtures. However, as the guidelines presently stand, we have to state that changing rooms MUST REMAIN CLOSED. This will be the position until further government guidance is issued for recreational sport.
Players Requirements with respect to Covid Guidelines:
It is the responsibility of players to ensure that they are fully compliant with the current guidelines in all of the following areas:
- Travelling to away games
- Warm-up & fielding drills
- Registering – Track & Trace
- Running between the wickets
- Playing conditions for this competition
Players to have their own personal drinks bottles. Clubs may wish to make available a supply from which players can ‘top up’ their drinks bottles.
Readers will deliver this week and we have a distribution plan in place.
First Aid/Emergency Aid
Clubs will have addressed first aid as part of their Risk Assessment.
Scoring the match is the responsibility of the home team. Given the constraints on travel it may be that teams are unable to take a scorer to away fixtures.
The ACO have published to the following guidance:
- Where both teams provide a scorer, they should remain socially distant from others at all times
- Where possible, scoreboxes should not be opened.
- Where there is no alternative, there should only be one scorer inside the scorebox unless the scorebox is large enough for social distancing to be maintained.
- Ideally players should not be allowed in the scorebox, nor should scorebooks be passed from one person to another.
- Scorers should not be sharing any equipment.
- Scorers will not hold any item of players clothing, sunglasses or any valuables. Nor should they be given spare match balls.
- In the event of rain, scorers should remain in the score box if that is where they are sitting. If they are not sitting in the scorebox and there is insufficient outdoor cover from the rain to maintain social distancing, they should return to their own vehicle.
- Scorers should either regularly wash their hands or use hand sanitiser.
Caps & Sweaters
Players cannot hand items to the umpire. They SHOULD be taken off the field of play – a metre or so over the boundary.
Umpires Level 1 & Level 2
Panel umpires will be provided for all games at Level 1 and Level 2. Where only ONE umpire is available, the home club should provide a suitably experienced person to stand as the square leg umpire. In exceptional circumstances, where no other reasonable option is possible, a player from the batting side may fill this role.
In such circumstances, Panel umpires should be paid expenses of £40 split equally between the two sides.
Team Cards & Umpire’s Payments
Each team will pay one umpire. Umpires will still be paid in cash. The cash should be placed inside a sealed envelope which should be handed to the umpire before the toss of the coin.
We are NOT using team cards. In lieu of the team cards we ask that the selected team for the day should be printed on the front of the sealed envelope ensuring that the age group of junior players is clearly indicated. This then must be signed by the team captain.
Duckworth Lewis (D/L)
Clubs are reminded that in rain affected games with reduced overs, D/L will be used to establish a revised target score. The D/L calculator in the Play-Cricket scoring App will be used.
A G50 value of 200 will be used. These playing conditions will apply to all levels and to Sunday cricket which will adopt Level 3 & 4 playing regulations.
Your Responsibility to Team Captains
We are playing in circumstances where a great deal is being asked of your team captains, over and above the normal demands that fall on their shoulders. We need all players and especially the senior players, to rally round and help to share the burden of responsibility.
Once the team goes into a warm-up the team captain needs to be with their team and focussed on the game. Club committees have an important role to play in helping to ensure that the new matchday arrangements go as smoothly as possible and everyone stays safe.
Clubs may feel that it would be a good idea to appoint a matchday manager.
Learning from experience
These are unlikely to be the last clarifications we issue. The covid-secure mitigations are taking all of us into unchartered territory. As we go along, we will doubtless learn a great deal as to how well these arrangements work in practice.
Where this is the case, we ask clubs to share knowledge and experience with all clubs so that we can all learn for the future.