Devon Cricket League re-start from the view of the team captain

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Picture: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Devon Cricket League captains have been having their say with regard to the expected return of league cricket in Devon from July 25 in line with Friday’s announcement from the ECB, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Friendly cricket can start this Saturday (July 11) and clubs are already fixing up games against local rivals as part of the warm-up process.

The ECB is due to make more details public of what is and is not allowed after a meeting on Thursday, after which the Devon League will formulate a scheme to get competitive cricket going on July 25.

Here is what captains have been saying about the long-awaited start to the season:

“Delighted that cricket can resume, especially as other sports have had the green light. Intrigued to see what the league propose exactly, given the proposed schedule will run into September which means availability could be interesting. Really happy that the younger players will get an opportunity to play and it won’t be a totally lost season. The older players might be less enthusiastic about eight-a-side, but given the current climate playing some form of cricket would be good news.”

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Alex Clements (Ottery St Mary 1stXI captain)

Asking around the players they want to play 11-a-side cricket for at least 40 overs and 50 preferably in localised leagues of some sort. How it is done - geographically or by spliting existing divisions - we don’t know yet. Our ground look teriffic and our players have been training and are ready go.”

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Joel Murphy (Budleigh Salterton CC)

“I think for it to be meaningful and worthwhile for all players involved it has to be at least 40 overs, so 45 overs out of the two options even though 20 would certainly suit my current personal circumstances (putting the team first). To be meaningful I think the playing standard needs to be similar as long as the clubs are nearby. I can see issues getting teams together if clubs had considerable travel for a game with nothing on it.”

Gareth Stoneman (Whimple 1stXI captain)

“We will have a bat.”

Andrew Buzza (Exmouth CC 1stXI captain)

“It will be great to be able to have some cricket back and to help clubs get back on track and to get members/players playing again. I hope some form of local competitions can be arranged, but everyone at present is still in the dark as to what is capable and doable.”

Tom Popham (North Devon CC 1stXI captain)

“I am hopeful that the format is T20 to make the game fast paced and enjoyable I am looking forward to winning the toss and batting. It is going to be great.”

Peter Randerson (Heathcoat 1stXI captain)

“Really happy to get the green light. I am interested to see what the official guidance is, but we’re happy to play any format. I think T20s would be the most sensible option though.”

Matt Heather (Chudleigh CC 1stXI captain)

“Its absolutely fantastic news to hear of a return to cricket. Saturdays just haven’t been the same this year without any. I didn’t think we would get the go ahead until august and gone, but we’ve all had our fingers crossed that we would get some sort of cricket in this year. We will probably have some inter club games from this Saturday in preparation for a July 25 start. We’re all really excited for some cricket this year, whatever the format may be. The lads have been training hard in the past few weeks in preparation for the go ahead and we’ll be ready to hit the ground running as soon as we get the green light.​“

Jason Parr (Cullompton CC 1stXI captain)

“The boys are happy to get going ... well the younger ones!! Older ones may be more enthusiastic depending on what competitive cricket we will play. Without the bar and clubhouse open I can’t see the older ones being involved.”

Anthony Griffiths (Sidmouth secretary and 2nd XI captain)

“I think it can only be a good thing for clubs, especially financially. General consensus around the club is people can’t wait to get back out and play. Personally, I think wait and see what is proposed before we get too excited. Some form of meaningful, competitive cricket would be good. I think the most important thing for clubs is to get the youngsters back out playing as losing their interest could be a real issue.”

James Nicholls (vice-captain, Plymstock 1st XI)

“Surprised after hearing last week’s statement but happy to see a return. Since the start I’ve said local competitions would be best. Easy to organise and would appeal to the majority in my eyes. Talks of it not being 11 a side does not get me wanting to play that’s for sure.”

George Benton (Paignton 1st XI captain)

“Excellent news that recreational cricket can commence. Not a lot of time to get ready but I am sure clubs will be quickly getting prepared. Not sure what the DCL have planned?”

Mike Pugh (Torquay CC cricket manager).

“Look forward to seeing what sort of competitive cricket the DCL come up with and what the timescales are. Hoping it will be 11 a side in some sort of tournament form. Making it something to play for will the way forward.”

Eliot Acton (Bradninch 1st XI skipper)

“It is great to be able to get some cricket in this season, especially when for a time it looked like this would not be possible. We are due to play Bovey Tracey on the 11th who are an exceptional side and will prove to be an extremely tough first game.”

Nick Watkin (Abbotskerswell 1stXI captain)

“It is great news but my first reaction was one of panic. I only saw the ECB guidance for opening clubhouses yesterday and it appears to require an enormous amount of work to get things safely up and running. The work required to comply with Covid-19 safety requirements seems very daunting. The checklist runs to five pages with 65 items to be checked. The risk assessment template is another 10 pages.”

Mick Rusling (Dartington & Totnes chairman)

“Delighted ‘they’ have come to there senses and allowed us to play the game we all love. Excited to see what the DCL will have in store for us for the remainder of the summer. They have had plenty of time to plan something meaningful so let’s hope this long wait is not for nothing!”

Richard Foan (Sandford 1st XI captain)

“We are not fussed how the divisions are divided up. Thirty-five over cricket would be our preference.”

James Allen (South Devon CC captain)

“Since it’s already been confirmed there’s no relegation or promotion, we would much rather play local games. Also there’s no way we would be able to travel long distances to away games with people from different houses sharing cars. The (recent) survey was mostly about playing into September, which we would be more than happy to do.”

Alex Hannam (Bideford CC 1stXI captain)

‘Our division has Bideford in one direction and Kilmington in another, which is too much travelling. The closer the better as I can’t imagine many wouldn’t want to travel too far for non-league cricket. Instead of basing it on existing divisions maybe we could be put in with Heathcoat, Cullompton, Sandford and Bradninch? It would certainly be a challenge. A couple of T20 round robins on one day wouldn’t go amiss and maybe some 40-over games.”

Andy Pitt (Thorverton 1stXI captain)

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