Staffs ready to get out in the middle

The Staffs Clubs Cricket League have planned for a full summer of league cricket.

Last summer saw a delayed start and reduced programme due to the coronavirus pandemic, but hopes are high that a normal schedule will take place this year with promotion and relegation.

The league have issued fixtures and are planning to start on April 17, subject to government and ECB guidelines.

"We are still waiting for the guidelines by which we as a league can play to be issued by the government and ECB," said league secretary Kevin Herbert.

"When the government sign off the ECB plan then we will go from there.

"There has been a lot of hard work for the committee but we have our plans in place and the handbooks are ready to go out. We are just waiting to see what we need to do to be able to start on April 17.

"At the moment everyone is gearing up. Clubs are arranging friendlies for April 10 because outdoor sport can resume of from March 29.

"Cricket is in a good place because we very successfully played last year under the required conditions with hardly any issues – 99 per cent clubs adhered to it .

"Plans are in place for a full 22-week season and the fixtures have been issued.

"We will start start with 5 games of win/lose/draw then 11 games win/lose and then finish with six win/lose/draw.

"And if we have a full season then we are planning on promotion and relegation."

Bur while the league action is ready to roll, the league are holding fire on a decision to stage the carious midweek knockout competitions.

With regard to the midweek knockout cup competitions, we are waiting for the guidelines on that.

"There are lots of clubs who want to play the midweek knockouts but we didn't do it last year because we couldn't," added Herbert.

"We are going to wait until we get the guidelines and then we will canvass the clubs as to whether they want a midweek knockout and what format it should take.

"We want to get Saturday cricket up and running first before we embark on that. But it's something that can be arranged very quickly."

Last season's matched were played with a bubble of 30 players and officials allowed at grounds and that is likely to be the case for the early part of the summer until the lockdown restrictions ease.

"The league went very well last season," said Herbert. "There were a couple of clubs that had Covid outbreaks which we handled in conjunction with Staffordshire Cricket Board.

"It was handled very professionally and we were complimented by the Wolverhampton Health Authority on the the way it was handled."

The league will run eight divisions from the Premier down and will welcome three new sides this summer – Hawkins Sports seconds, Aldridge thirds and Highcroft and Great Barr Unity thirds.

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