THE Tolchards Devon Cricket League should have swung into action this weekend with the first round of fixtures across all 15 divisions.
The Covid-19 shutdown put paid to any cricket in the foreseeable future – and there is a question mark over whether any cricket will be played at all this summer, not just in Devon but nationally.
Website news editor Conrad Sutcliffe asked a selection of captains and team managers how they felt about a truncated cricket season. Are they planning for any cricket and what will they be doing with their Saturday afternoons?
None of the respondents seemed too worried about the viability of their clubs and a repeated theme was the willingness to play short tournaments if time allows. Playing into mid-September, which was common up to 1978, has also been suggested.
Here is a selection of their replies.
“It is going to depend on Government guidelines and advice so we will all need to wait for the next announcement on the lockdown situation. Meanwhile we are going to cut some strips with nail scissors in preparation!”
George Breyley, Brixham CC
“I have played league cricket on Saturdays in May since I was I was15 so not really sure what I will do. Work around the house I guess.
Would be delighted to get some cricket at some stage this summer. Think this has given people a real appreciation for what they have and hopefully at some stage we can play the sport we all enjoy.
Perhaps we could play on into September. We always have fixtures after the Devon League season finishes. Start in July/August if possible, play each team once and then play a T20 tournament.”
Richard Foan, Sandford CC
“Everyone at the club is gutted about there being no cricket at the moment but backs the decision 100 per cent. As a club we are keeping in contact with our members and are in the process of creating videos for the colts etc to keep practicing and to keep them interested in cricket. We obviously want to play some cricket but the current situation is by far much bigger. We are keen for half a season or any cricket at all competitive or not when these challenging times are over.”
Lloyd Murrin, Budleigh Salterton
“I can’t see there being any cricket this year to be honest. We live in hope, but if all professional sport is being delayed until September I can't see us being allowed to play.”
Mark Lake, Hatherleigh CC
“At the minute we are all just ready and waiting. We are still hopeful that we will get something in this summer. I've got a new-born so my hands are pretty full and the distraction of cricket would have been welcome. Saying that, as long as everyone is safe then that's all you can ask. Speaking to a lot of the lads I think I they are more worried about when the bar opens rather than when the cricket starts. But it will be nice to pull the whites back on and get out there.
James Nicholls, Plymstock CC
“Yeah what a shame! I'm doing chipping in my garden and running a lot. That's about it. Work for me has gone mad so no let up.
“I wouldd be open to lots of ideas, as long as it's safe to do so.
A season of T20 or something or nine games?
I would suggest no relegation or promotion and I would want the essence of playing to be about having fun.”
Pete Randerson, Heathcoat
“Will be a very strange summer without any cricket or sport in general. Fingers crossed we can get some play on even if it's just a month. I would be open to playing in September but that depends on the formats and types of games.
I can't see many people wanting to play friendlies all over Devon, maybe if there were local tournaments set up to make it more competitive that would attract players more, again. Could do local T20 days like it used to be. Paignton, Torquay, Barton and Brixham or Abbotskerswell; everyone plays everyone gets the bar open. Then maybe go through to play another region in Devon?
I don't think you can plan for anything with what's going on though.”
George Benton, Paignton CC
“We've got enough in the bank to be ok especially if the league don't charge fees or ask for full fees this season as looks like we won't fit a full season in. Glad to not have the headache of an overseas in these uncertain times.”
Simon Prideaux, Filleigh
“Definitely hopeful of some cricket, even if only friendlies towards the latter half of the season and into September.”
Tom Pedel, Exeter
“Obviously gutted that we can't start this weekend. Will be a really weird feeling sitting inside on the first Saturday of May! I'll be doing university work instead as I've still got a few assignments left of my final year.
I hope we can start in early July, but I have no idea how realistic that is? Obviously any cricket is better than no cricket. We all all want a bit of fun on Saturdays after this so I'm all for playing as much as possible without relegation or promotion.
Playing into September is an interesting one. It's always been something that I've considered a possibility anyway as the weather is often better in September than May! If it means playing some cricket this summer then I'm all for it.”
Toby Codd, Bovey Tracey
“As a cricket coach getting some form of the season up and running in my opinion is imperative. Cricket as a whole gives both a physical and mental release for so many, creating purpose and a sense of community within clubs over the county. A competitive league with promotion and relegation may not go ahead, yet I believe getting as many fixtures played will bring a lot of joy to so many.
The longer the adult season can be played the more opportunity it gives colts to play and watch cricket at a local level, which I can only see as a positive for all clubs involved.”
Andy Buzza, Exmouth CC
“On Saturday I will most probably be playing cricket with the kids in the garden!
It is becoming increasingly unlikely we see any cricket unfortunately. If we can play half a season where everyone plays each other once then I don’t see why it can’t be competitive.
It will be interesting without any overseas players. In my personal opinion if we can’t play at least half the games then the league should be void for the season and the clubs should make use of the weekends to raise funds, whether it be through playing cricket locally, festivals, fayres etc.”
Ben Morgan, Seaton
“It feels very strange sat here as we approach the first Saturday in May knowing there will be no cricket. My use of the BBC weather rain radar is non-existent
Having played cricket every Saturday since the year 2000, I literally have no idea how I will fill my Saturdays. At the risk of sounding gloomy the prospect of any cricket this season appears slim. Fingers crossed everyone manages to stay healthy and we can look forward to the 2021 season.”
Nick Watkin, Abbotskerswell
“Hopefully we will get some cricket on, whether that is league cricket or competitive friendlies. The lads are chomping at the bit to get started in some capacity.
Jon Varcoe, Plymouth CC
“On Saturday I will be running around after three year old twins, getting quicker by the day on their scooters and balance bikes – and teaching them how to bowl
My hopes are for the chance to play with new team-mates and get the Alphington / Wear merger off to a great start. Can't wait for the first team practice and beers. Looking forward to Jon Heaver abusing me every week again.”
James Bogue, Alphington & Countess Wear CC
What would you like to see happen when cricket gets the go-ahead to start playing? Email your suggestions via this link