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Covid-19: 2020 was the summer club that turned cricket innovative

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HUW TURBERVILL: A shortened season meant teams and leagues had to be smart to get the most out of the campaign. Different rules and formats emerged to ensure everyone was taken care of

So did they arrange things for you or let you do it?

Your cricket league, I mean.

I play in Surrey. The AJ Fordham Championship waited and waited as we all did to get a green light from the government.

Then they pulled a sheet out of Monty Python’s book when it came to tweaking what was left of the season, and said, “And now for something completely different.”

They put down their normal divisions and established a more local league – “a local league for local people,” as the League of Gentlemen might say.

You can read about similar arrangements regarding Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire in the October issue of The cricketer magazine out now; other counties – Kent and The Two Counties League of Suffolk / North Essex, for example – did not organize a new tournament, but let clubs make their own arrangements.

“Some leagues have just played their second half of the season’s games as normal, but we have changed the format,” AJ Fordham said Surrey Championship Chairman Peter Murphy. The cricketer.

Our Covid summer reminded us of the importance of the volunteer

“We put everything in the air and completely reorganized it. We only had seven weeks instead of nine, because we wanted to give clubs a little longer to get things in place. We also chose shorter matches (40 overs, not 45 or timed) due to the lack of access to pavilions, and allowed clubs to save on travel with a more local feel. We have also united with our feeder league, the Fullers League.

“This is how the ‘Challenge Cup’ was created. We had groups of eight for first, second, third, and fourth. We weren’t sure we were going to do this before fourth, but we bit the bullet and most clubs seemed grateful we did.

“It seemed to be going well – feedback from clubs was largely complementary. About 100 clubs played almost 1,000 matches. Most of the players seemed grateful to get a cricket at all, and credit must go to the people who organized the matches – they did a great job in the short term.

“Yes, there were some players who didn’t want to play without promotion and relegation, but availability was increasing in some areas. People didn’t have to do anything else and vacations were canceled. There was a lot of liveliness in clubs: the pub decline was good in my club, Woking! “

I can attest from my own experience at Beddington CC that the groups were organized not only locally, but also with a view to competence.

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What will club cricket look like in 2021?

Had they been strictly regionalized we might have played Addiscombe, Cheam, Merstham, Purley and Wallington, and not gone as far as Barnes (to play Bank of England) and Dulwich.

Nevertheless, the new arrangements have worked out quite well.

The midweek T20 Surrey Slam, the Sunday Trust League for mostly under-25s (with three elders per team), and Sabbath friendlies ensured there were plenty of matches for those who wanted them.

So what’s going to happen next year? Who knows!

“We hope for normalcy next year, but you should already fear that there are still rules and regulations and that we may have to mix it up again. We are concerned that a challenging year lies ahead, ”said Murphy.

“Maybe we’ll play half a season like we did this year and wait to see if there will be a vaccine in July. We could then play the other half with promotion and relegation at stake, but we have to be agile. “

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