Cricket Wales, alongside colleagues in the Welsh sports sector - and, no doubt, the majority of the Cricket family in Wales - have been left disappointed by today's announcement, and the further delay to the opening up of organised adult activity in Wales.
As a naturally socially-distanced, outdoor, summer sport, as well as having no recorded Coronavirus outbreaks traced to an organised cricket match in Wales, we feel we have clearly demonstrated that Cricket is an extremely low-risk activity.
Whilst respectfully acknowledging the difficulties, and health-versus-wealth complexities, of managing a path out of lockdown for all industries and groups of the population, we must express our deep concern that organised, controlled, socially-distanced - and sober - adult cricket fixtures, played under detailed and medically-led NGB guidance, have not been prioritised in the most recent review.
We are in no doubt that adult cricket activity, with the mitigations and Covid adaptations we successfully applied last summer, would represent a relative low-risk easing of restrictions, in line with the stated cautious approach towards Alert Level 3, and would also be consistent with the extremely encouraging low case rates being reported in Wales, and the clear success of Wales' vaccination programme.
Further to today’s announcement, Cricket Wales would like to provisionally advise our clubs and participants of the following, including mid-term next steps and key dates:
Children’s outdoor organised activity and 2-household/up-to-6-person exercise regulations remain unaffected - Cricket’s guidance for these activities in Wales can be found here.
Undertaking children’s outdoor, organised activity has been updated this week as a ‘reasonable excuse’ to travel into England.
*Adult Cricketers should be legally permitted to cross the border when it is re-opened (scheduled to be 12th April) to engage prudently in Covid-safe cricket activity in England.
*Outdoor hospitality permissible in cricket clubs with such facilities from Monday 26th April – further guidance to follow.
*Organised adult outdoor activity, in groups of up to 30, scheduled to re-start on Monday 3rd May - any necessary updates to standing permitted activity guidance will be made as soon as Welsh Government publish amends or additions to their guidance/FAQs.
*Subject to public health conditions remaining favourable and confirmation by Welsh Government
Further communications will be sent in due course with regards to changes to Welsh Cup round dates.
Cricket Wales CEO, Leshia Hawkins, commented, “While we have been left extremely frustrated and deflated by the news today, Cricket in Wales has demonstrated time and again over the last year its resilience, agility and commitment to getting the game on safely - and the next few weeks will be no different, I’m sure.
“We have already begun the process of proactively engaging with league administrators in both Wales and England, and our clubs, to work through the implications of today’s news and to ensure minimal or no loss of competitive cricket for adults in the short-term. I want to assure the Welsh Cricket Family that we will get through this latest bump in the road together and we will come back stronger.
“In the meantime, I respectfully urge Welsh Government colleagues to consider re-instating equitable participation opportunities for recreational sports people, either side of the England-Wales border, as many other industries’ customers have been afforded by the most recent review.”