Clubs gear up for return to the cricket field this weekend
After the stop-start of last year cricket clubs have been given the green light to play in 2021 with the Gordon Rigg Bradford League and Pontefract League set to have its first round of fixtures this Saturday.
With no championship possible in 2020 Woodlands finally begin the defence of their Premier Division title in the Bradford League when they travel to play the team that finished runners-up to them in 2019, Townville.
Also in the Premier, Wrenthorpe have been given a home start as they take on newly promoted Batley in their first game.
In Division One there are away games for Carlton at Gomersal and Ossett at Undercliffe.
East Ardsley will be aiming to get off to a good start in Division Two when at home to Jer Lane while Wakefield St Michaels travel to play Spen Victoria and Sandal face a trip to Bowling Old Lane.
Altofts are down in Division Three for 2021 and face Heckmondwike and Carlinghow for starters.
The Heavy Woollen Cup also gets under way with first round matches on Sunday and the prospect of some mouth watering ties straight off.
Five-time winners Wrenthorpe have a home clash with Birstall while Ossett travel to Hoylandswaine, Sandal are at Crossbank Methodists and Wakefield Thornes away to East Bierley.
The full first round draw is:
Cleckheaton v Scholes (HL); Shelley v Woodlands; Castleford v Kirkburton; Treeton v Buttershaw St Pauls; Elsecar v South Kirby Colliery; Hoylandswaine v Ossett; Barkisland v New Farnley; Wrenthorpe v Birstall; Barnsley Woolley Miners v Wickersley Old Village; Crossbank Methodists v Sandal; East Bierley v Wakefield Thornes; Hanging Heaton v Shepley; Townville v Methley; Gomersal bye; Skelmanthorpe v Farsley; Cawthorne bye.
The Priestley Cup, meanwhile, will begin with round one matches on Sunday, May 2. The final is scheduled for Sunday, August 29.
The Priestley Shield starts on May 23 with the final set to be on September 5.
It is intended to continue the Bradford League’s T20 competition with the finals on Sunday, July 25 and group games on Tuesday evenings.
Dates for the initial rounds are: Group A - May 25, June 8 and 22. Semi-finals July 6. Group B - June 1, 15 and 29. Semi-finals July 6.
The Pontefract League is another to get under way on Saturday with Streethouse, Crofton Phoenix and West Bretton set to do battle for the championship in a 12-team top division.
Division Two includes Old Sharlston, Nostell St Oswald, Oulton and Streethouse seconds.
Newton Hill will compete in Division Three along with Horbury Bridge, Calder Grove, Notton, Pledwick and Old Sharlston seconds.
Division Four includes Denby Grange and Crofton Phoenix seconds, who meet in their opening fixture, while in Division Five are Normanton St John’s, Wakefield Thornes thirds, West Bretton seconds and Rothwell seconds.
Crigglestone’s first team takes up a position in Division Six with the second teams of Nostell St Oswald, Pledwick, Oulton set to be among their rivals.
Normanton St John’s, Denby Grange, Calder Grove, Notton, Newton Hill and Horbury Bridge all have second teams in Division Seven.
Wakefield Thornes are once again competing in the Yorkshire Cricket Southern Premier League and will open their campaign in the Premier Division on Saturday with a home game against Sheffield Collegiate.
Thornes’ second team starts away to Shiregreen in Division One of the Yorkshire Southern Premier League.
To enable recreational cricket to be played, adapted playing conditions have been introduced and the ECB ACO has produced guidance for umpires and scorers.
It is the duty of the umpires to manage these new adapted playing conditions and guidance on operating them and any sanctions are also included. The full guidance is available on the Bradford League website.
The plan for organised cricket matches includes the following advice issued to all players and clubs:
Undergo a personal symptom check at home prior to matches. Stay home and do not take part if you demonstrate any covid-19 symptoms and are required to self isolate.
Use own equipment throughout where possible and clean your bat when leaving the field of play.
Players to remain socially distanced at all times (wicketkeepers and slip fielders at 1m+). Batsmen should remain socially distanced from the umpire and run on opposite sides of the pitch.
No sweat or saliva is to be applied to the ball at anytime. Hands and the ball should be cleaned at all breaks in play and every six overs.
Social distancing should be maintained during wicket celebrations and drinks breaks.
Keep a record of all those in attendance at each session, including contact details. This is to support NHS Test and Trace and is required by law.
Use of the clubhouse, changing rooms and toilets should adhere to the latest UK government advice.
No spectators are initially allowed, but this rule may be relaxed later if the government roadmap is followed.