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Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and their Saracens Hertfordshire League rivals hoping to get 2020 cricket season under way by July 25 at the latest




The Saracens Hertfordshire League is working towards a July 25 deadline for getting the 2020 season under way.

The league sent out a survey to member clubs asking for their comments and suggestions regarding what this summer's campaign could potentially look like.

Over 80% of clubs responded and the majority were in favour of there being no promotion or relegation.

One caveat relates to the Premier and Championship divisions as, under the constitution, no decision by member clubs affecting the structure of the top two divisions can be made without the majority of clubs at that level supporting it.

Bishop's Stortford have two teams in the competition with the firsts in the Championship and the seconds in Division 4A, while Sawbridgeworth's first team are in Division One and their second-string are in 5B.

It is still hoped the season can commence on July 11, subject to government and ECB guidance, but a fortnight after that would be the latest the action could get going in order to get nine rounds of matches scheduled.

"We will send out to the top twenty clubs a simple question asking whether they wish there to be one club relegated from the Premier to the Championship and one club relegated from the Championship to Division One with corresponding promotions from the Championship and Division One, said the league's honorary secretary Barry Hellewell. "There will be a number of conditions attached to that proposal.

"Most clubs have said that they could play beyond the normal league season and we have decided that the latest possible date that we could start - and get in nine games - would be July 25 and some clubs who lose their grounds would have to play away for the last two games.

"Because of possible weather and Covid-19 cancellations, there would have to be a minimum of seven games played. All matches would be under the limited-overs format.

"To reiterate, this question is asked of the top 20 clubs and we will require 14 of those 20 to be in favour for there to be promotion and relegation as suggested."

All other divisions would take place without promotion and relegation, but the league does intend to award trophies as usual to all divisional winners. There will be no fines for cancellations as there may be ground availability issues as well as player availability issues related to self-isolation.

The ECB issued an update on Friday confirming the recreational game remains suspended until further notice and that the delay to the professional domestic season has been extended until August 1.

But it is looking to have further discussions with the Government to begin mapping out a return, including the potential for an earlier return of junior cricket.

Clubs including Stortford and Stansted Hall & Elsenham have begun one-on-one net coaching while following strict government guidelines and observing social distancing.

Stortford's new director of coaching Luke Humphrey began sessions on Monday, with family groups allowed.

As part of its ongoing commitment to members, the first hour-long one-to-one with Humphrey for members who have already paid their subs will be covered by the club. See www.bishopsstortfordcc.com for full details.

And at Stansted Hall & Elsenham, Ollie Patmore has been putting the likes of Tom Motson through his paces with batting drills.

Ollie Patmore coaching Tom Motson in the Stansted Hall & Elsenham nets (35738324)
Ollie Patmore coaching Tom Motson in the Stansted Hall & Elsenham nets (35738324)

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