Upottery skipper laments the fact that his team may not see any cricket this season

Upottery Cricket Club, who will, in 2020, be playing the likes of Sidmouth and Exmouth 2nd XIs in th

Upottery Cricket Club, who will, in 2020, be playing the likes of Sidmouth and Exmouth 2nd XIs in the Tolchards Devon League C Division East. Picture UCC - Credit: Archant

This coming Saturday (May 2) was due to see the opening round of matches in the Tolchards Devon Cricket League.

Upottery should have been preparing to entertain Sidmouth II at Glebe Park in the opening C Division East fixture of the campaign, but the Coronavirus pandemic has put paid to cricket for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, last week, the English Cricket Board (ECB) announced there will be no cricket in England until July 1, at the earliest.

If cricket were allowed to begin on the first Saturday of July, the that would be the date of the round 10 matches, a reverse of the opening day fixtures and so, in theory, the league would be able to get ‘half a season’ in!

Upottery skipper Mark Joyce says: “Sadly, I feel it’s very doubtful we will see any cricket this year and it goes without saying that, on a personal level and also from the club’s point of view, it’s both upsetting and a blow.”

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“What make is all the worse is that we had some great pre-season fixtures lined up and, boosted by some new signings, we were confident about the season ahead. “Adding to the general disappointment is that this pre-season the weather has been ideal for cricket!”

He continued: “However, and of course, people’s health and safety is far more important, it goes without saying that I’d happily give up this season as long as we get everyone involved with the club through the Coronavirus pandemic safely and can then enjoy a full season in 2021 with a healthy squad!”

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To the question of: “What if the season were to start at the halfway stage (the ECB announced last week that there will be no cricket until July 1, at the very earliest), would you advocate playing half a league season, he replies: “From our point of view, if we were, per chance, left with a half of a season then it would make far more sense for the remaining league fixtures to be played as friendlies. However, we’ll happily go along with whatever the league wants and decides when, and if, that time comes.”

As to the long-term health of the club and how it would cope in the event of there being no cricket in 2020, the Upottery skipper says: “The future of the club will remain very healthy and promising and would like to think all our very kind sponsors for all their on-going support and, if we can’t play cricket this year then we are confident that all those wonderful sponsors will be by our side again in 12 months’ time.

“The biggest hit, in the short term, would be to the junior section for this year we were going to be running dynamos/all-stars together with an Under-16 team and a women’s XI, but I am sure all will be raring to go in 2021!”

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