Updated: Jul 4, 2020
At last! It may not yet be cricket quite as we know it, but we can at least start practising, as long as we stay in small groups...
Following the relaxation in the lockdown rules relating to sport and new ECB guidelines issued a couple of weeks ago, the club has now put in place plans for group training for the men's teams (for this purpose U16s and older) to start in their traditional slot on Wednesday evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm at Blackheath, starting this week.
However, to comply with ECB guidelines, things will operate a bit differently this year ...
Availability and selection for training sessions
First and foremost, it will not be possible simply to rock up on a Wednesday evening at 6.30pm. There will be a maximum of 24 training places available each week. Each week the senior captains will be asking for your availability for the session, in much the same way as they would previously have done for a match. If you would like to come to the session you will have to click the button saying that you are available. If you do not do this, you will not be able to come to the session.
If there are fewer than 24 who want to come, all of them will then get an email telling them they have been selected to come and asked to confirm that they are coming. If there are more than 24 who want to come, the captains will select the 24 who are invited to come and and ask them to confirm they are coming (by clicking on the relevant box in the email), while informing the others that they won't be able to come that week. This means that saying you are coming to training will be have to be treated as a commitment, as if you say you are coming and then don't turn up, you will have deprived someone else of the opportunity to come.
Rules for training sessions
The training sessions themselves will also have to be a little different this year. First, as most members will already know, only 2 of the 3 artificial nets can be operated, as adjacent nets are not permitted. However there will also be a third grass net available for these sessions, on the edge of the square. There can be no more than 6 players in a net, so the capacity of 24 allows for 3 nets and one group of 6 doing some fielding drills.
Second, there are various rules regarding sanitation and social distancing, which the club has put in place in accordance with ECB guidelines, see Rules for group training sessions. Some of these rules are aimed at our junior squads (all of whom are following the same system for their training sessions this year), however please read the general rules. A copy of specific rules relating to the use of the nets is posted at the nets themselves. The key ones are keeping 2 metres apart and not sharing equipment (including not sharing balls).
Third, there will be a junior training session taking place in the slot before on Wednesday evenings, ending at 6pm, so there will be about 20 cars leaving the club shortly after 6pm. To avoid a jam on the track and having too many people at the club at the same time, those coming to training sessions should not arrive before 6.15pm.
Registration and subs
Please note that these sessions are only for registered club members. This means that if you do not register you will not be able to come to the sessions. Out of fairness to all our members (the vast majority of whom have already paid a full sub this season), we are requiring that everyone in the men's senior squads who wants to come to sessions or use the club facilities must register and pay at least the minimum sub of £60. To do this just log in to Teamtamer in the normal way, click on your profile then "Register now" and follow the prompts.
What happens next
Please look out for emails from one or other of the senior captains over the next day or so and respond promptly, and hopefully all will run smoothly. The system is already up and running with the junior squads, who are also starting sessions this coming week, and most of their sessions are already well oversubscribed. Hopefully, the senior players' sessions will be equally popular. We've certainly waited long enough, and the weather forecast for the coming week is fabulous ...