THE start of the Worcestershire County Cricket League season has been postponed until further notice due to the coronavirus crisis.
The league, which was due to begin on Saturday, April 11, acted after announcements by the ECB and a conference call with the West Midlands League cricket forum executive.
It follows the ECB suspending all recreational cricket with immediate effect including indoor and outdoor training, pre-season friendlies and any associated activity.
A county league statement said: “Given the fast-moving, unprecedented situation we as a nation find ourselves in, we cannot currently specify a start date but remain hopeful of being able to play some cricket when we have been given the go-ahead from the ECB following government guidelines.
“Dependent on what time remains available within the season we will look to maintain a match format that will allow promotion and relegation on the basis that all clubs have enough time to play every other team in their division at least once.
“We will continue to review options and make more substantial decisions on this matter once we know how much time we have available as, when and if the position becomes clearer.
“The main focus of this message along with the advice on specific WCL programmes and directives is that cricket as a whole needs to come together at this time.”
Clubs are advised not to arrange travel for overseas players yet or incur further costs with signings from abroad.
Cup competitions will be reviewed based on the length of the season.
All player transfers as of March 22 will be honoured while all league and umpire meetings are postponed until further notice.
Clubs are encouraged to continue with the care and maintenance of grounds but in a safe way where no more than five people are on site at any one time with the required distance away from each other of two metres.
The league statement continued: “We understand everyone’s disappointment in not having any cricket and there will undoubtedly be more time spent on phones, iPads and laptops but please encourage your members to be respectful of fellow clubs and players.
“After all we would prefer to start back after the break with not having to deal with any disciplinary issues.
“The WCL management committee appreciates the coming months will be difficult for all clubs and our primary concern is for the health, welfare and livelihoods of all our member clubs and volunteers.
“Moving forward we will act in the best interests of all with our main goal to ensure ongoing sustainability for all.
“The government has already announced measures to support small businesses (which clubs are!). These include grants and interest-free loans. There are more to come.”
The Birmingham League match programme, due to commence on April 18, will also be suspended until a start date for the season is confirmed.
The Graham Williamson Trophy and Twenty20 Challenge Cup competitions are on hold too.