Entire local cricket season is under threat from coronavirus

The local league cricket season is under threat
The local league cricket season is under threat

The local league cricket season could be lost due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

That is the worst case scenario which could befall the Northern League and the Moore and Smalley Palace Shield.

Under normal circumstances, clubs would be busy preparing for the start of the cricket summer which usually begins in April.

However, clubs have been cancelling practice and net sessions in a bid to prevent the spreading of the disease.

There is also the prospect that overseas players will not be able to carry out their duties if the UK enters into a lockdown situation.

In a statement, Northern League chairman David Hopkinson said: "At this time of year, clubs are normally stepping up their preparations with important work on the ground and the square.

"However, even in the midst of so much uncertainty, the one thing we do know is that this year is not, ‘business as usual’.

"Faced with uncertainty we have to base our actions on the balance of probability:

"There is a very strong probability that the start of the league season will be deferred.

"There is a significant probability that the first half of the season may be lost.

"The Government strategy of ‘delay’ is to push back the peak of the crisis from late May/early June into July and August. If this strategy is successful, there exists a chance that our entire season could be lost.

"It is too early to speculate as to how strong that chance is but not too early to acknowledge that the chance exists."

Hopkinson revealed the league was hoping to receive advice from the ECB in relation to clubs who had entered into a contractual obligations with an overseas player.

There is also the prospect of clubs being financially stretched due to the social distancing policy being advised by the Government.

Hopkinson said the league's executive would be exploring ways of trying to mitigate that impact.