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Thames Valley Cricket League continuing to plan for resumption of competitive cricket despite PM's comments

In line with the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) statement on Tuesday, the Thames Valley Cricket League has said it’s continuing to plan for the resumption of competitive cricket this summer.

This week the government failed to relax social distancing restrictions for the sport, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson telling MPs the ball was a ‘natural vector for disease’. But the ECB remains committed to staging recreational matches this summer and reiterated its hope that they would return ‘on or around July 4’.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) along with the nation’s cricket players are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with government to achieve this," the statement read. "We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted. It is our strong desire to work with government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.

"We are heartened that the government has already permitted the return of other ball sports, including tennis and basketball, and we are sure that our interpretation of the risks around ball transmission is consistent with these other games.

Last month the Thames Valley Cricket League revealed its plans for a reduced nine-match season starting on Saturday, July 11, with a round of friendly matches played on July 4. The games would be of the win/lose format and while there would be no relegation or promotion, teams could play competitively and compete to be crowned champions.

An online poll carried out by the league also revealed that 71 per cent of respondents were in favour of the league being extended into September, while 62 per cent wanted to see matches played on the August Bank Holiday. such is the desire among amateur cricketers to squeeze in some form of competitive season.

At present, with the game in stage three of the ECB’s roadmap for the return of full league action, cricketers are able to hold net or practice sessions with six people from different households. Smaller sided matches of six or eight-a-side have also been proposed as an interim alternative to 11-a-side cricket.

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