Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Events have moved very fast over the past week or so, and the club committee has been giving some rapid thought as to how the club should respond, both immediately and over the next few weeks.
Our overriding priority is of course to ensure that we follow all government guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, subject to that priority, the club will do what it can for the benefit of all its members, try to play its part in helping the community cope with a very difficult period, and continue to prepare on the footing that at least some cricket will be played in the coming summer.
In the light of the stringent new government restrictions imposed this week on permissible reasons for leaving the home, we have with regret taken the decision to end any further use of the nets at Blackheath by members for the time being. We very much hope it will be possible to permit them to be used again, at least on some limited basis, before too long. The ground itself in principle remains open to members for taking exercise. However, please do not travel to Blackheath if you have somewhere you can exercise equally well closer to home, and if you do exercise at the ground please make sure that you do so only in accordance with the new restrictions, i.e. individually or in family groups from the same household and keeping your distance from others. Please do not enter the pavilion. All club training programs of course remain suspended for the moment. Any further volunteer working parties (whether at Grafham or Blackheath) are also suspended.
Registration for the new season
Although there are still spaces in a few junior squads, the vast majority of juniors have long since registered for the new season and most squads are full. However, only a minority of last year’s senior members have so far registered. In the present state of uncertainty about whether (and if so how much) cricket will be played this summer, we are not expecting those who have not yet registered to do so at the moment. For the time being and at least until 30 April 2020, any senior members (including for this purpose men, women and U15/U14 boys) who were registered members last year will continue to be treated as members this year. Hopefully by 30 April the position will be clearer, and a further announcement about registration for this year for those not already registered will be made nearer that time.
Developing an online club community
Over the next few weeks, whilst the vast majority of members are stuck at home, we intend to be proactive in developing an online community. This will be particularly aimed at our junior members, and will include videos for developing cricket skills and explaining games that can be played in the back garden, even with very limited space, as well as some fun competitions and links to cricket resources. We will very much welcome ideas from all our members as to how our online community might be developed, and you will be hearing from me again shortly with an invitation to send in suggestions, as well as with an initial video.
Looking further ahead
At this stage we cannot know for sure when (or even whether) the cricket season will start, or indeed whether children will return to school this summer. However, the club is determined to do as much as it sensibly can this year, consistently with whatever government advice/restrictions may be in place from time to time. If children go back to school, we very much hope that the cricket season will start at the same time, with training and matches taking place subject to any restrictions that may be necessary. Even if children do not go back to school until the autumn, it may still be possible for the club to operate on some basis during the summer, subject to appropriate protocols. It may also be possible for senior league cricket to resume in some form. We will be liaising closely with the appropriate authorities to see what can be done.