In its current form, recreational cricket should not continue from July 4, as many had hoped.
But despite many people putting pressure on the government to overturn this decision, a Bradford resident is very much against return.
Here is his letter to the T&A:
Local cricket has been in decline for decades; one of the main reasons for this is the board of the recreation game, which still pretends Fred Trueman is leading the Yorkshire attack on Bradford Park Avenue.
The hopeless reactions of local leagues to the pandemic demonstrate a lack of clear thinking.
Your correspondent (26/6) wrote, “There is still hope that recreational cricket can still continue on or around July 4.”
Has he ever prepared a cricket ground? Even worse, the five-stage plan by the governing body (ECB) clearly states that no cricket is possible while social distance persists.
You quote David Young, President of the Bradford Premier League: “We have always recognized that the health and safety of the cricket community must be the primary goal.”
So why is he trying to resume a game that cannot be socially distant? Cricket is the essence of a social sport.
Most cricket dressing rooms are little more than large wardrobes; cram eleven players with gigantic bags and then try social distance? But we can change outside!
And if it rains then what? Twenty-two stacks of soaked equipment, plus players, referees and scorers seeking refuge, where?
Some competitions speak of double weekends in August; how do you clean dressing and toilet areas after the game, since most players just want to show up and play before they disappear?
Also keep in mind that August is a holiday month when it’s hard enough to get teams for one game per weekend.
And no saliva on the ball; Well, we can always rely on players not messing with the ball, can we?
Of course, the ECB’s PR department makes the right noises, even if they contradict their established guidelines.
But like football, money is the only deal in the city right now, and the TV paymasters must be adhered to.
So we have sports on Sky again to avoid huge discounts to (Rupert) Murdoch.
This gives airtime to Michael Vaughan, an expert on rent-a-quote, and urges us cricketers to go out while trying to do a (Marcus) Rashford.
Has he ever swept a dressing room, rolled a wicket, or any of the other countless tasks we have to do every Saturday? How do we do this in isolation?
It talks about competitions that organize short-side cricket – maybe six or eight against a side – although the one who came up with that idea must have been in the club bar all night.
Given the average age of most teams, we need more field players, no less! What about the clubhouse bars, traditionally the main source of club income, but much less nowadays when habits change?
Perhaps, since this income is more difficult to generate, can clubs finally break the habit of paying stupid money to entice moderate players and get back to the real spirit of cricket?
Those who are currently crying the bad story have largely created their own problems.
I urge the leagues to use this time to rethink the whole grassroots game approach.
Keep your heads together and think about how we can come back in 2021 with an offering that somehow secures the future of the game.
Now is not the time to sit there, just hoping the clouds will blow and we’ll be back soon.
Steve Wilson – 7 Lenton Villas, Idle, Bradford, BD10 8LT
(Footnote – the ECB’s roadmap can be found here – https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1679970/roadmap-for-return-of-recreational-cricket)
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