Tolchards Devon League skippers speak about the 2020 season that might not see any action

PUBLISHED: 16:26 04 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:26 04 May 2020

A cricket ball on the scorers table.

A cricket ball on the scorers table.

Archant

The Tolchards Devon Cricket League should have swung into action last weekend with the first round of fixtures across all 15 divisions.

The Covid-19 shutdown put paid to any cricket in the foreseeable future – and there is a question mark over whether any cricket will be played at all this summer, not just in Devon but nationally.

One thing captains are agreed is that a limited amount of cricket would be better than nothing at all – even if it means extending the season into September.

Exmouth captain Andy Buzza said sport can help large swathes of the population get back to some sort of normality and cricket has a role to play in that.

“As a cricket coach getting some form of the season up and running in my opinion is imperative,” said Buzza.

“Cricket as a whole gives both a physical and mental release for so many, creating purpose and a sense of community within clubs over the county.

“A competitive league with promotion and relegation may not go ahead, yet I believe getting as many fixtures played will bring a lot of joy to so many.

“The longer the adult season can be played the more opportunity it gives colts to play and watch cricket at a local level, which I can only see as a positive for all clubs involved.”

Lloyd Murrin, the Budleigh Salterton captain, agreed with Buzza that keeping youngsters engaged is crucial and his club is using innovative methods.

“As a club we are keeping in contact with our members and are in the process of creating videos for the colts to keep practicing and to keep them interested in cricket,” said Murrin.

Murrin said it was hard to predict whether any cricket would be played this summer.

“Everyone at the club is gutted about there being no cricket at the moment but backs the decision 100 per cent,” said Murrin.

“We obviously want to play some cricket, but the current situation is by far much bigger.

“We are keen for half a season or any cricket at all competitive or not when these challenging times are over.”

Tom Pedel, the Exeter captain, remains optimistic there will be some cricket to look forward to.

“Definitely hopeful of some cricket, even if only friendlies towards the latter half of the season and into September,” said Pedel.

James Bogue, the captain of newly merged Alphington & Countess Wear CC, also remains hopeful there will be some league cricket played.

“My hopes are for the chance to play with new team-mates and get the Alphington/Wear merger off to a great start,” said Bogue.

Anthony Griffiths, the Sidmouth secretary and 2nd XI captain, is hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

“I would say a mini Twenty20 league within a 15-mile area would be a best scenario as I’m pretty sure there won’t be anything else until 2021,” said Griffiths.

Griffiths said he hoped the lack of match action this season would have a knock-on benefit when play does resume.

“Hopefully, this whole thing will make everyone appreciate sport and what it means to people and its importance,” said Griffiths.

“Next time they may think twice before missing games for rubbish reasons. Let’s hope so!”

Ben Morgan, the Seaton captain, is another skipper with reservations about how much cricket will actually be played.

“It is becoming increasingly unlikely we see any league cricket unfortunately,” said Morgan.

“If we can play half a season where everyone plays each other once then I don’t see why it can’t be competitive – and it will be interesting without any overseas players.

“In my personal opinion if we can’t play at least half the games then the Devon League should be void for the season.

“Clubs should make use of the weekends to raise funds, whether it be through playing cricket locally, festivals or fayres.


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