19 June 2020
James Sunderland backs calls to reinstate village cricket

James Sunderland MP has, along with 11 other MPs, co-signed a letter to the Sports Minister calling for the immediate resumption of village and amateur cricket.

Full text of the letter:

Reinstating village and smaller town cricket clubs

We are writing as a team of eleven (plus a reserve!) to express our support for the immediate resumption of village and amateur cricket. The single greatest benefit of such an initiative will be to send a valuable signal of a return towards normality across the United Kingdom although we also believe it will provide clear benefits to mental and physical health whilst being readily compliant with the Government’s social distancing guidelines.

We understand that, whilst golf was one of the first amateur outdoor activities to be released from the lock down, the ECB has been reticent to issue guidance for local cricket clubs to re-open, owing to government rules limiting gathering sizes (those familiar with village cricket would be pleasantly surprised to learn of a problem with large gatherings of spectators!). Indeed, all sports bodies have been focused on securing professional sport whilst we believe it is time to focus on grassroot participation.

As you know, the game of cricket itself is non-contact and players are spread out in wide fielding formations exclusively outdoors where the risk of transmission is already vanishing small. While guidance will be required around the use of club houses or pavilions - perhaps limiting access to a strict number as with retail and workplaces - it should be more than possible to resume games while respecting government guidance on social distancing.

While village cricket is a vital part of rural communities, it is also the national summer game in most parts of the UK. We would appreciate if you could give this issue your attention and we copy this letter to the ECB as well, recognising that this is shared responsibility between Government and the cricketing authorities working together.