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Return to Cricket: Recreational Clubs in Leicestershire and Rutland receive over £500,000 funding

Great Glen Cricket Club
©Cricket World / John Mallett
 
Great Glen Cricket Club
©Cricket World / John Mallett
 

Following up on our recent article - When will there be a Return to Playing Cricket for Domestic and Recreational cricketers in the UK? – it is great to hear that cricket clubs in Leicestershire and Rutland have received over £500,000 in funding to ensure their survival during the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Some £455,000 has been accessed in business rates relief grants provided by the government, with a further £71,000 coming from Sport England. Funds have also been accessed through schemes run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

As of this week, the total amount shared between 120 clubs in the region is £528,126.

“It's a staggering amount of money, but it's vital to keep the recreational game alive, because without it interest in cricket would inevitably begin to fall off,” Mark Barber, Leicestershire CCC’s Head of Community Development, told a recent members' forum.

“Normally this is the time of year when clubs would be bringing in the most amount of money, whether that be through their bar, or hiring out facilities, money that's vital to sustain their activities throughout the rest of the year.

“That is obviously not happening, so we've been doing all we can to inform clubs about what funding is available and how to apply.”

The recreational game is now in the “preparing to return” phase, with the ECB having last week confirmed that clubs could now resume coaching outdoors in small groups of up to six at a time.

Domestic (County) Cricket

County members also heard incoming chief executive Sean Jarvis say the club was hopeful a schedule for a truncated season, starting in August, would be released in the next two weeks.

“Horse racing has begun again and football is following, so clearly there are reasons to be hopeful, obviously we are governed by what the government and ECB decide is safe, but when we get the schedule we will be kick straight into action,” he said.

The virtual forum was also attended on a voluntary basis by Foxes head coach Paul Nixon and players Nat Bowley, Alex Evans, Lewis Hill and George Rhodes, all of whom are currently furloughed.

Nixon said it was still hard to know what form the season would end up taking: “We're hoping hotels can open up, because that would allow some red ball cricket as well as white ball – without that happening white ball cricket is the more likely.

“It's clearly still very fluid and as a club we're looking at preparing for every eventuality. The plan is still very much for [South African overseas signing] Janneman Malan to come over, I spoke to him a couple of days ago, he's in great shape and as desperate as we are to get going.

©Cricket World 2020