BOLTON Cricket League clubs will finally take to the field this evening as their summer gets under way.

Delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, a round of T20 fixtures will get things started tonight before the Premiership and Association campaigns begin tomorrow.

Clubs have watched on hoping for the green light from the Government and the England and Wales Cricket Board with recreational cricket eventually resuming last Saturday, July 11, after plenty of heated debate.

Now BCL clubs have some competitive action to get their teeth in to, and Little Lever skipper Josh Gent is full of praise for the work of league officials as they have navigated through the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis.

“I think the BCL have been fantastic,” he said.

“Out of all the leagues locally, they’ve acted a lot quicker than the other leagues, I think the strategy they’ve put together has been brilliant.

“A lot of leagues are only playing friendlies, if any cricket at all, and from day one they’ve been sorting fixtures out.

“They’ve had to put up with teams pulling out of the league and start dates have changed so they’ve had to chop and change further.

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“The way the league has responded to the coronavirus has been second to none. Credit to the officials for that.

“We’ve got a lot more games, in a league format, it makes people want to play a bit more.”

This will of course be cricket in the ‘new normal’ and Gent admits he is struggling to understand some of the restrictions in place.

Changing rooms will be out of action with players expected to bring their own food and drink. There will also be sanitisation breaks to allow for hand washing and for the ball to be cleaned.

Batsmen will have to stick to designated running lanes while clubs have been instructed to have someone keep tabs on who is coming in and out of their ground for track and trace purposes.

“Playing cricket is obviously what we wanted to happen,” said the Victory Road captain.

“But some of the restrictions that have been put in place to actually play a game of cricket are going to make it a lot less enjoyable and are some of the reasons why players are turning round and saying they’re not bothering.

“I think there are quite a few teams that are struggling to put sides together because some are not that interested in playing due to some of the silly restrictions which I don’t agree with.

“You can’t use the dressing rooms, you can’t have teas, no shower after the game, all these sort of things.

“I’m not sure why 11 lads can’t sit in a changing room when you can have X amount of people in a pub.

“You can go for a meal now and sit around a table with six people. If you can’t get social distancing in the changing rooms then you could have five changing first and then six after that.”

The bigger picture though, Gent acknowledges, is that getting clubs functioning again is vital for their long-term futures.

“In the end, all I’m bothered about is that the club is back open but that there will be some cricket on for people to come and watch and put some money behind the bar,” he said.

“I’m sure other clubs are the same. They’ve had no income and spent a lot of money on renovations and things like that and they’ll get some of it back.

“But all these things that are in place now have just put a damper on the game. That’s just my opinion, it might not be what everyone else thinks.”


Dixon Air Conditioning T20: Tonight (6pm) – Blackrod v Westhoughton, Lostock v Horwich, Farnworth v Kearsley, Heaton v Tonge, Farnworth SC v Little Lever, Golborne v Little Hulton

Premiership: Tomorrow (1.30pm) – Farnworth v Westhoughton, Heaton v Farnworth SC, Little Lever v Horwich, Walkden v Kearsley

Association: Tomorrow (1.30pm) – Astley Bridge v Adlington, Darcy Lever v Tonge, Eagley v Little Hulton, Golborne v Blackrod