Coronavirus: Essex League aim for July 11 start

PUBLISHED: 08:03 02 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:03 02 May 2020

Nick Winter celebrates taking the wicket of Hornchurch batsman Michael Bones as Brentwood's march to the Essex League Premier Division title (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Nick Winter celebrates taking the wicket of Hornchurch batsman Michael Bones as Brentwood's march to the Essex League Premier Division title (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

The Shepherd Neame Essex League announced an attempt to start the 2020 season on July 11 in a statement released on Friday night.

The ECB has said no professional cricket will be played before July 1, having pushed back their original May 28 deadline, and postponed the inaugural running of The Hundred until 2021.

And the Essex League confirmed this meant the first half of their 18-week season would be ruled null and void, but with hope of still seeing some action.

“First league games will attempt to be started on Saturday July 11, this is to attempt to play half a season of games (9),” said a statement from chairman Tom Clarke on the league website.

“The fixtures as currently published will remain unless XIs inform us they cannot fulfil the fixtures. We will continue to follow advice from the ECB about whether recreational cricket will be able to be played at this time.”

Clubs will be given at least three weeks notice before any restart of the season and any matches that can be played will use the limited-overs format, with coloured clothing or whites to be worn by first XIs in the Premier Division and Division One.

Champions and runners-up will still be honoured, but there will be no promotion or relegation from any divisions.

And clubs currently outside the league who may be wishing to join for 2021 will still be able to apply in September.

Clarke added: “Overseas players will still be allowed as per the current league rules however we will accept registrations at any point up to the first actual league game of the 2020 season. The week five deadline no longer applies.

“Clubs should however diligently review their finances to decide whether this is a good use of their money in the current situation.”

Penalties for withdrawing a team from the league will not apply in 2020 and teams will not be removed from their division for multiple concessions, with no point deductions for concessions.

Also, any suspensions that were due to be served in the opening weeks of the 2020 season will be deemed to have been served.

Clarke said: “Once games can take place the SNEL Exec will work with clubs to ensure as much cricket is played as is reasonably possible.

“This may include playing cup matches on Sundays, like we usually do, or creating cup or regional group mini leagues to be attempted to be played in September and October.”

The league also highlighted the series of webinars being run by Essex Cricket and revealed that over £800,000 has been received by clubs from schemes such as the government’s small business grant, Sport England grant, ECB grants and loans for the Essex region.

Those clubs who have not yet applied for funding are advised to do so via the league website.

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