Village cricket will be very different when it returns - including no teas

PUBLISHED: 16:24 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:38 10 July 2020

Village cricket is set to return this month - but not as some remember it. Picture: Adrian Judd

Village cricket is set to return this month - but not as some remember it. Picture: Adrian Judd

Village cricket will be without one of its most time-honoured traditions when it returns later this month - the friendly break for tea and cake.

Peter Thomas, chairman of the Norfolk Cricket Alliance. Picture: Kevin DenmarkPeter Thomas, chairman of the Norfolk Cricket Alliance. Picture: Kevin Denmark

This week, the government gave the all-clear for cricketers to return to village greens and compete in one of England’s best loved summer pastimes after the Covid-19 pandemic called time on the game.

However, as players around the region prepare to return to their local grounds, it is not without differences, with a lengthy list of new regulations to make sure the game can go on without risk to health and safety.

And among these changes is the lack of the traditional teas which are ordinarily on offer to players mid-way through a match - which have had to be placed firmly on hold.

The new guidelines have also meant that clubs are having to take additional hygiene measures, with the match ball needing sanitising every six overs.

It has seen national champions Swardeston, who this year should have been representing the country on a European tour, instead having to splash out on 1,200 wipes for when recreational cricket returns.

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Peter Thomas, club member and chairman of the Norfolk Cricket Alliance, said: “Obviously it is pleasing that we are going to be able to play again but there is certainly going to be a lot of work involved in getting things back up and running.

“It really is mind-boggling just how many guidelines there are and how much there is to do.”

Under the guidelines, clubs will not be able to use changing rooms - meaning players will have to arrive already in their whites - and umpires will be unable to touch the match ball.

Batsmen will also have to run in specifically marked out zones to prevent them from coming within 2m of bowlers at the other end.

Mr Thomas added: “Cricket is much more than just the game itself and a lot of the social aspect of it will be gone.

“Tea is out of the window and spectators will have to socially distance, which will be fairly difficult to manage. When games are on village greens you can’t exactly prevent people coming to watch.

“However, health and safety has to be the number one priority.”

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