Those involved in recreational cricket are looking forward to more restrictions easing, as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) moves to Step 2 of its roadmap from 12 April.
The article below will summarise what the next phase (Step 2 in the ECB’s Roadmap) looks like for England, as well as my own thoughts on recreational cricket.
Important to stress that this is subject to change and the ultimate source to reference is the UK Government and the England & Wales Cricket Board.
Some cricket leagues have already started in April with 17-18 April a big weekend for many clubs in Yorkshire.
12 April: STEP 2 – Spectators are not currently permitted to attend sporting events on private land at Step 2. This seems especially odd given the next guidance below.
(According to the ECB, This does not apply to carers for people with disabilities, adults needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role or patrons attending the venue for hospitality.
However, as the UK Government notes, this does not stop people from watching recreational or organised sport that is happening in a public space, such as a park, in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.
Serving food and drink
Outdoor food and beverages can be served at cricket club grounds, subject to the rule of 6 or two households rule.
If a cricket club or venue does not serve alcohol, visitors can collect food and drink from a counter but have to eat it while seated at a table. Clubs can sell takeaway food and drink as long as it’s not consumed on the premises.
Unless I’m misunderstanding (always possible), ‘participants’ (players, umpires etc) must continue to bring their own food and drink, and as the ECB guidance states, not share bottles.
So, potentially no spectators, players must bring their own food and drink BUT clubs can sell food and drink? The distinction presumably is that those attending a cricket club to buy something to eat are not classed as spectators. Make of that what you will.
From a club point-of-view, they are understandably ready to welcome members and supporters back in a safe manner and start to enjoy some kind of normality.
Changing rooms have to stay closed except for those who are disabled and emergency requirements.
Clubhouses have to also remain closed, yet toilet and hand washing provisions are permitted subject to risk assessment, ventilation, cleaning and the other Covid regulations for venues.
Trace and trace
One point addressed in the ECB guidance is to what extent clubs need to enforce track and trace. It’s not necessary to collect contact details from everyone watching the cricket in a public ground like a park.
They should for anyone ‘ interacting with the clubhouse area, any seating areas provided by the club or interacting with any other club owned and/or operated facility.’
The recommendation is to clearly mark out an area created to keep players and members of the public
No earlier than 17 May – STEP 3 – Decision expected 10 May – The hope is that there will be further restrictions lifted by the UK Government at this point. Indoor cricket for adults is earmarked to return, subject to ECB guidance.
Indoor hospitality areas (so bars/seating in cricket clubhouses) will be allowed to reopen with the rule of 6 or two households rule in place (subject to review).
Key observations (for organised outdoor cricket from 28 March):
- No sweat/saliva on the ball
- Hands and ball cleaned every 6 overs
- Use own equipment if possible
- Social distancing at all times (including wicket celebrations)
- Batters to run in tramlines (2m away from bowler/other batter)
- Clubs to do Track and Trace of all sessions (training/matches)
The Covid-19 plan for Junior and open-age cricket (see below) relates to players, volunteers, spectators, parents, clubs, coaches and officials in England.
Grassroots cricket in England and Wales has separate guidelines. See the resources below:
UK Government Guidance for Recreational Sport
Organised Outdoor Recreational Cricket Guidance (from 12 April)
Outdoor Cricket in Wales
Covid plan for junior and open-age cricket
Poster for Socially Distanced Cricket Matches