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Statement from the Two Counties League

Thursday 25th June 2020

Statement from the Two Counties League

Despite some optimism on Tuesday about recreational cricket restarting soon, it is now clear that this is not to be. The MSC decision circulated to clubs over the weekend will therefore stand and we hope this will help to clarify why the decision was taken.

Playing Dates and Notice Period
As our early correspondence indicated it was always our aim to give clubs three weeks notice to commence play. Whilst many of our members have committed volunteers and others lucky enough to have professional groundsmen who have been working solidly to keep squares and outfields fit for play, many others have not been able to do so. It is also our understanding that some council maintained facilities may not have had much work done at all. This has great bearing on the safety of players and cannot be ignored.
We have passed the period for start dates on the 4th and 11th July. Following feedback on Circular 4 (we received responses from approximately 60% of clubs) many of those who replied could not facilitate home matches after the 12th September. This would result in a further re-write of the fixture list and would require matches to be played on Sundays or Bank Holidays and this therefore is not a practical solution.

Transportation Issues
The current government advice states you should not carry passengers in a car unless they are from your household. Many of you will be familiar with the situation in having youngsters and non drivers in the team and you have to load up three or four cars with players and kit. It is simply not feasible to take up to 11 cars to matches and if we can keep clubs playing locally to each other it will make transport easier.

Adaptive Games
Coupled with this there is also the consideration that if cricket is allowed to start matches are very likely to be strongly adapted from our usual formats to begin with. This drew at length discussion around the geographical restrictions in our league.
For instance if we consider Division One, are we going to ask clubs to travel in the most extreme example a journey of around an hour and twenty minutes to play a twenty over match, with a small team taking say eight cars and faced with the prospect that clubhouse and changing facilities may not be open and available?

At the end of the day we want people playing cricket and in the current circumstances we want to make the decision process around whether to play or not as easy as possible. Our consideration as to the best way is to keep things as local as possible and the attached SUGGESTED groupings are a simple GEOGRAPHICAL solution to do this, without being prescriptive in any way as clubs are free to organise in any way they want, (within the ECB guidelines at that time.)
All the very best from the committee and here is to hoping that we can get some cricket
underway soon.

Suggested Groupings

Group A: Maldon (4); West Mersea (2); Witham (3); Kelvedon & Feering (2); Copford (2); Abberton (2).
Group B: Braintree (2); Coggeshall (3); Dunmow (2); Little Bardfield Village (1); Halstead (3); Chappel & Wakes Colne (2).
Group C: Earls Colne (1); Colchester Cavaliers (1); Eight Ash Green (2); West Bergholt (2); Boxted (1); Great Bromley (1).
Group D: Wivenhoe (2); Clacton (1); Elmstead (2); Frinton (2); Tendring (1); Harwich & D. (2).
Group E: Mistley (3); Hadleigh (2); Ipswich (3); Copdock & O.I. (2); Ipswich & E.S. (2); East Bergholt (2).
Group F: Sudbury (2); Long Melford (2); Haverhill (3); Brockley (2); Nowton (2); Bury St. Edmunds (3).
Group G: Mildenhall (4): Tuddenham (1); Worlington (3); Lakenheath (2); Elveden (1); Bardwell (1).
Group H: Woolpit (4); Stowmarket (2); Stowupland (2); Battisford (1); Needham Market (1); Earls Stonham (1); Walsham le Willows (1).
Group I: Kesgrave (2); Felixstowe & C. (3); Melton St. Audrys (2); St. Margarets (2); Sudbourne Hall (1); Nacton (2).
Group J: Worlingworth (1); Yoxford (1); Easton (2); Saxmundham (1); Woodbridge (2) Stradbroke (1).
Additional Notes (Parentheses indicates the number of teams fielded by that club in the Two Counties Championship)
Ardleigh and Brightlingsea are Sunday teams only, and have not been added, but clubs can still contact them.

There will be no registration of players or need to phone results or enter results on play-cricket. Players therefore have freedom to play for more than one club during this season without penalty.
The groups are organised geographically ONLY and are NOT in any way fixed as any club can organise any fixture they wish with any other club at whatever level. Thus any informal organisation of local clubs who wish to organise a “Mini League” would be supported 100% by the MSC. Sunday only teams and Ladies teams have similar freedom.
The strength of the teams can of course be varied by mutual agreement to ensure a competitive match between equally balanced teams. Consideration MUST be given to ensure that young players have plenty of opportunity to play and to that end the MSC would have no issue with, for example, 2 young players playing half a match each. – indeed such action should be encouraged.
Matches can be played on any day and at any time according to the ECB rules valid on that day and can therefore be changed at any time up to the start of the match by mutual agreement between the two teams.
There will be no Umpires Panel allocation but a list will be provided to all clubs of times and dates when an umpire is available to officiate and what the fee will be at a later date.

Up to date Club Championship Reps can be viewed via the link below.