Will cricket return this summer?

If you hadn’t heard there have been no games played yet this season and unusually it is nothing to do with the weather. Ironically I don’t think we would have missed a single game yet because the weather has been some what favourable. Isn’t it also funny that the 2020 would be such a headache for cricket lovers all over the world! However 2020 did seem to defeat the new Hundred competition scheduled to take place this summer so it can claim that one! I for one will find it very difficult to get on board with the concept as it seems to completely exclude the south west while having multiple clubs in London. It’s not about new fans to the game it’s about money. As a club we won’t have easy access to these games so it will be very difficult to get early buy in, I think. But that is just my opinion and maybe not one shared by the masses. Anyway I digress another topic for another day! Back to the matter at hand cricket in England this summer…

What are our chances of getting out there?

Could we push on to the end of September if a start date comes this summer? It is difficult to say what will happen. One thing is for sure the ECB seem to be leaning on government advice rather than deciding what to do and taking definitive action. In many cases the individual county boards have made their decisions already. There are rumours of leagues in the country starting soon. A game has already taken place in Guernsey. All encouraging signs I’m sure you agree. But I accept it’s a complete unknown and we can just take it day to day.

Thanks to the huge efforts of Peck and Nev both our grounds look stunning and I’m sure would be ready to host a game tomorrow if called upon.

ECB Guidance

The ECB have released some helpful documents advising what the first steps are that can be taken returning to cricket. However the latest release, ECB Roadmap, has left a few questions unanswered one being is it likely that cricket as we know it will even take place in 2020.

There are new rules that have been provided by the ICC on how cricket is being reintroduced in the upcoming England v West Indies test series. They seem to be mostly for the elite games. Although one is relevant.. You try telling the chief ball shiner or middle aged medium paced trundler to not use saliva on the ball! If you would like to take a closer look at them click here. What rule adjustments do you think could work in recreational cricket to get us back playing sooner?

Training

We have already begun socially distanced practices and there has been a great vibe around the players who are really keen to get back out there. I don’t think we will have same selection headaches for the first game of the season compared to previous seasons! But this is Frocester anything could happen. Anyone reading this firstly well done for lasting this long and secondly if you would like to have a net please speak to your skipper or Eric Woodmason. For those looking to play, rejoin, join as a member get in touch and we can talk you through it. Eric is the best person to speak with in the first instance but if he is unavailable you will find a list of contacts on the homepage.

What do we already know?

Cricket in Gloucestershire have already come together and agreed that there will be no promotion or relegation in any of our leagues. The correct decision for sure. I know we don’t have a start date yet but I would like to jump into a hypothetical situation.. The 4th July was due to start the second half of fixtures. Would you like the league to play half of the games knowing there is no consequence at the end of the season? Or would you rather use this as an opportunity to arrange some friendlies against teams we have played in the past? Never played against? and/or the odd team from the same league?

What do our captains think?

I have asked our four senior men’s captains what their thoughts are and if we will get any cricket in this year.

George Davies, Fourth team captain:
“Yes we will play but I’m not sure how the leagues will work, my thinking is that we might play the rest of the season from when we start and all the games will be counted as friendlies! At least that’s what I hope, I’m really looking forward to playing again!”

Uzi Qureshi, First team captain:
“We are certainly optimistic that we will be able to get some cricket in, its been tough for all the players in the group especially our youngsters who have worked tirelessly hard over the winter in preparation for a big season ahead. In saying this – we have had a number of our players train on Sundays and its been great to see them taking initiative! I believe we will be back playing cricket very soon”

Sam Birch, Second team captain:
“Firstly, I hope everyone in the Frocester and cricketing family are staying safe during these strange times. Although, the government has started to ease lockdown restrictions and things have started to go back to “normal”, personally, I am unsure whether we will be playing cricket this year.

What makes cricket a fantastic sport is the closeness of the players within the team, whether that is on or off the pitch. The ECB have advised about no saliva to be applied to the ball, which will be a difficult habit to break for the ball shiners within the team. However, I’m sure our bowlers are welcoming the rest that they’ve had, especially when we would have had flat pitches galore during the recent sunny weather.

Part of the strong team moral at Frocester comes from is sitting on the balcony watching the game, listening to people talk and joke. It is the social aspect of cricket which will be affected with the current changes, as well as playing the actual game itself. I know the local supporters are keen get back down the club, to support the Frocester boys from the patio and bar!

I do think some games of cricket will be played this year at the start of August, but more than likely they will be local “friendlies”. I doubt certain people will be up for travelling over an hour to play a gentle 30 over match. A way to “spice” it up the game, would be to make an agreement with opposition that the team who loses the match each player has to buy their opposite number a drink. Also, I think team numbers will be a struggle, so it might be 1 week you do 1s/2s team and then the week after is 3s/4s.

Let’s hope I get to see all of you at frocester very soon!”

Ali Downey, Third team captain:
“We are clearly in unique and unprecedented times and I hope everyone connected with the club is safe and well.

What the last few months has told us, is that it’s important to remember the good times and I hope those good times return on and off the pitch soon. When cricket returns, we already know there will be no promotion and relegation for the 3rd team so we can just get back playing the game, seeing mates and enjoying the game and company in its purest form.

I am a firm believer in being as positive as possible (no, really, I am) and I would love to think we will get some cricket at our two great grounds this year. On the plus, it’s been flawless in terms of selection and it’s nice to be unbeaten in mid June!

It’s been great to see some of the guys at the club on Sunday’s and I hope that continues. I’ve no doubts we will get through this because we have a great set of people on and off the field and I’d like to wish everybody well in the coming weeks.”

Thanks to our four skippers there.. Hopefully they get to lead out the chaps in the not too distant future.

Summary

Safe to say you probably haven’t learnt much from this that you already didn’t know but for what it is worth I think the answer will be yes we will play this summer, all signs seem to be pointing in a positive direction on this front. How this will look is very much anyone’s guess though. There are a lot wiser people out there than me who know doubt will have the answers (if they could let me know that would be great!). Look, we can’t do much until the government recommend something the boards can work with. We should trust that the right decision for the county and all the clubs they represent will be made. On a personal note I would love to see us playing some of the fixtures from the old three counties days. Who could resist a trip to Colwall followed by some outstanding chips in Ledbury on the way home, if you know you know! This could also be an opportunity for the leagues to see what the players want to do. So much is made of long days and guys either losing interest or even being unable to commit due to other things going on in their life. Why not use this time to experiment see if teams want to play in coloured kits (if they can) and/or use a pink ball? Try reducing the overs and have some flexibility with either start times or days? Always confused me why a team can’t play a league fixture on a Sunday rather than Saturday. Would this help those with Saturday working commitments or those having to play school cricket? Most importantly ask.. The odd survey pops up from time to time but can every player say with hand on heart they have filled it in? We all have an opinion on cricket and now is the time to find out what it is. The magical idea on how to keep enthusiasm high and encourage players new and old into the game is out there. If you have don’t be shy or moan you don’t like something. Tell someone in power.. If you don’t know who that is then just give me a shout I will help you find them.

Have your say

Are the ECB doing enough? Will the season finish? Want to play league fixtures or friendlies? Agree with the captains? Anything else you agree/disagree with in the article? Anything else you want to talk about?

We would love your feedback/thoughts/questions. Make sure you comment on our social media channels or on here.

Fingers and toes crossed that we will get back out there soon. But more importantly please stay safe.

Cheers,
Doorsy