Covid-19 Information Centre
This page will be used to keep clubs up to date with the rapidly changing situation on Covid-19 (Coronavirus), the impact it may have on ESCA and clubs and necessary guidance.
After discussions with Cricket Scotland, we are delighted to confirm that Interclub matches will be allowed in Scotland from Monday 10th August. CS have issued a press release to this extent.
“Local inter-club fixtures to resume from Monday 10th August 2020
Cricket Scotland is delighted to announce the resumption of local inter-club fixtures (both adult and junior), subject to certain restrictions, with effect from Monday 10th August 2020. Cricket Scotland is grateful to the Scottish Government and sportscotland for their help in, and approval of, this very positive step.
Detailed guidance appears on the Cricket Scotland website which must be followed. The key issues for clubs to consider, over and above those applying to the current intra club games, in playing local inter-club fixtures include: –
- Recording of all participants’ contact details
- travel to and from the ground: and
- minimising any group gatherings before, during and after the match.
The full guidance for clubs can be found HERE (http://www.cricketscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Cricket-Scotland-guidance-for-local-club-fixtures-phase-3-7.8.20-v2.pdf).
Additionally, club players and officials are encouraged to read this short online e-learning course which provides general information on staying safe and specific information on inter-club fixtures. The course can be found HERE ( https://commercial097.wixsite.com/covid-19)
The expectation is that the matches will be played within localised clusters of clubs – some matches of that nature have already been provisionally arranged by the Regional Associations or by clubs themselves. The opportunity exists, under the guidance, for clubs which are some distance from others to play matches but subject to the specific travel requirements laid down. The Regional Associations are able to advise clubs on the extent of localised clusters.
Clubs are reminded that the Club and members must be aware of and able to adapt to changes in guidance at short notice, for example, in the event of a local lockdown.
Clearly this resumption is hugely welcome but it must take place with suitable caution in the continuing pandemic, particularly in the light of fresh outbreaks in certain parts of the country.
Special guidance is being considered by the relevant Regional Associations and Cricket Scotland for clubs in Aberdeen itself and will be communicated in the next few days.
What this means is that the ESCA fixtures that have been planned will start with the first weekend being 15th / 16th August. The fixture list on the website will stand, simply with a line put through the fixtures on 8th / 9th.
We’d suggest that clubs get their heads together now on availability of players, getting any measures in place that are necessary, in line with all the guidance and comms we have issued previously and also contact planned opposition.
We know it’s been a long time coming and let’s hope we can get a good 4 weeks of fixtures.
Update @ 6th August 2020, 2.30pm – ESCA Fixtures Update – Weekend 8th & 9th Aug
Further to previous correspondence, we were asked to hang fire on an update this morning as we were expecting guidance from CS imminently. We can confirm that games for the weekend of 8th & 9th August will be INTRACLUB only.
This is not the news we all wanted, but is a reflection of where the Scottish Government are and therefore where sportscotland are.
We will provide further guidance as soon as we get the update from CS.
Update @ 3rd August 2020, 9.30am – ESCA Fixtures
Further to the statement from CS last week re inter/intraclub matches in response to the SG announcement on Thursday, we have been reviewing options for the ESCA fixtures.
The default position for cricket at this point is that it must be intraclub only. However, we have decided that we will not cancel all the planned weekend fixtures in case we receive an updated position from CS, given the lobbying of the SG and sportscotland they are undertaking.
ESCA will review the fixture list weekly and will advise clubs on a Wednesday night (latest Thursday morning) whether we have an updated position and whether the planned fixtures can proceed. If not, they will default to intraclub.
This should give clubs enough time to rearrange fixtures to be intraclub club and/or cancel pitches that aren’t required with EL.
Please make sure you keep an eye on social media and our website (http://www.eastleague.org.uk/news/covid-19-information-centre/) for updates.
Update @ 31st July 2020, 2.30pm – CS Announcement
CS have today provided further updates around the Scottish Government yesterday with respect to cricket and moving to interclub games. This is as follows:
“Under yesterday’s announcement by the Scottish Government that the country remains in Phase 3 of the route map, cricket activity remains limited to club-based activity until 24th August. We recognise this is hugely frustrating to all of us as much work had already been done to arrange and prepare for friendly fixtures during August.
Although the introduction of intra-club games has proved successful within many clubs, we are particularly conscious that smaller clubs with lower membership numbers, particularly in rural locations, are not able to play 11-a-side intra-club matches, (though other formats such as six a-side games might be possible).
Cricket Scotland has been actively lobbying for an early resumption of cricket activity and matches throughout the gradual easing of lockdown. As result of yesterday’s announcement, Cricket Scotland is today writing to the Sports Minister and the First Minister to argue cricket’s case again.
Cricket Scotland met with the regional and match official associations this morning, as part of a series of such meetings which have taken place throughout the crisis, to discuss the situation and the steps now being taken.”
ESCA are currently reviewing what we do with the fixtures that have been arranged, as we are reluctant to put a line through them, not least given the previous successful lobbying to move to intra-club and the speed at which that happened. However, given the above, we would advise clubs that any inter-club fixtures that are arranged between now and Friday 7th August are changed to intra-club or are cancelled.
With respect to the fixtures starting 8th August, we will come back to clubs with further information in due course, but we are likely to review the situation on a week-by-week basis. Please bear with us on this as, unfortunately, other than supporting the lobbying that CS are undertaking, there is little we can do.
We are disappointed that the news is not more positive and can only hope that we see a change in stance over the coming days.
Update @ 28th July 2020, 9pm – Updated Fixture Lists (Minor)
Minor update to fixture list to align home and away sides with the grounds they were assigned to. No changes to grounds, timing or opposition.
Update @ 26th July 2020, 11.50pm – Updated Fixture Lists
The following message was issued to club secretaries tonight:
Further to previous correspondence, attached are the proposed fixtures for ESCA. These have some changes from the original draft, not least a couple of team shuffles. We are one team light in Edin 5, which is a bit frustrating, but we are where we are at this point. If another side wishes to come in and take the spare space, then we would be happy to accommodate.
You will note that, as per my email yesterday and previous lists, we are starting fixtures as of 8th August. This is due to the fact that we have no further guidance from CS/SS/SG to allow interclub games to be started and if the SG announcement on Thursday does change things, it is unlikely clubs would be able to get themselves sorted at late notice. As such, 1st August should be planned to be intraclub games.
Clubs should note that the (general) default for the games shall be T20 matches, in pairs on a Saturday (with the odd Sunday due to ground availability challenges). This has been done to allow clubs to help facilitate local Sunday fixtures and/or allow Womens and Girls’ or Junior matches. It has also been done like this due to facilities (particularly Edinburgh Leisure facilities) where toilet provision may not be available and/or clubs may not want to undertake dictated cleaning regimes. As such, we cannot let clubs default to an 8 hour+ match without having necessary welfare facilities available.
Although T20 and largely Saturday fixtures are the default, we are happy for clubs to change the day, timing and/or format IF they can comply with all necessary guidance (e.g. it may suit a club with their own ground and all measures in place to have one team on a Saturday and another on a Sunday, both playing 40 overs). We are also happy for this to be done to help with player availability, but we ask in all cases that it is done by mutual agreement and ESCA are advised of any change in the fixture. We also ask that teams contact one another to make sure contacts (Captain, Covid monitor, etc) and any steps that need to be taken at the ground on the day are known in advance.
For sides who are on an EL ground, we will be sending this list to EL to act as the basis of pitch bookings. Clubs will still need to confirm the booking with EL as they will retain liability for the booking, including costs, insurances, etc. We would expect pitch costs to be shared between clubs who are using EL grounds, as the fixtures have had to take into account keyholders. EL will invoice the full amount to the ‘home’ club, but we expect the ‘away’ club to transfer monies via electronic means after the event. Please can clubs communicate with each other on this. For those using Inch Park, clubs will be separately invoiced.
Note that we do not have any fixtures pencilled in for Gyle, which we are hoping could be used by non-keyholder clubs to provide some flexibility if needed, as it may be able to be caretakered by EL. This needs to be confirmed.
I will collate the fixtures, key messages from this email and previous messages into one pack and post on the ESCA website over the next 24 hours or so, to give one reference point.
Hopefully this will see some cricket played in the East of Scotland over what remains of the summer and keep some enthusiasm for the game going.
If anyone spots any issues, please shout.
Update @ 23rd July 2020, 8am – Edinburgh Leisure Update
- EL are now back and operating at a very much reduced capacity, which includes booking for cricket.
- EL will continue to unfurlough staff as necessary over the coming weeks, but numbers will be dictated by other considerations outside of cricket.
- EL are keen for cricket to resume and have been looking at this with ESCA
- EL are required to make a business case before the restart of cricket venues is approved, which they are working on. However, this requires sign off of not just EL Board, but also City of Edinburgh Council, given they cut and mark pitches. They are hoping to have the first sign off (EL level) of the business case this week, but the CEc sign off will be into next week.
- As such they are taking NO booking for cricket at the moment, including weekend of 25th and 26th July, or any midweek games.
- They are hopeful of achieving the necessary sign off to allow cricket to resume during the week of 27th July, with a main target of letting ground bookings for matches on 1st August..
- When bookings are allowed again, pitches will be limited to astro pitches.
- Only clubs who are keyholders will be allowed to book their traditional ground. There will be no ability for adhoc bookings at this time by any other team or keyholders using another ground, EXCEPTING Gyle, where they will have a caretaker available to open up.
- We have tweaked the fixture list to reflect this (around half a dozen changes). It may mean that some clubs have all home fixtures. We will be using Inch Park as a ‘neutral venue’.
- Note that there is still discussion required around use of the pavilions at the grounds, including toilet facilities. We are hoping this will be updated by EL in the next set of communications after the business case sign off. The requirements on clubs are likely to be onerous. This is likely to influence decisions around match format.
- ESCA will submit the fixture list to EL and they will do a provisional booking of all EL grounds, but clubs will be asked to confirm the let with EL.
- EL will invoice the home club (though ESCA would look for pitch costs to be shared on EL grounds by both teams, so will need to agree for BACS transfers as necessary after this).
Update @ 17th July 2020, 12 noon – Further CS Update
“We are pleased to announce, that sportscotland have given approval for 11-aside cricket training games to be played by children, young people and adults from Saturday 18 July, in accordance with specific guidance that can be found HERE.
These matches must be played in an intra-club setting only, involving only members of that one club.
We thank sportscotland for their support and hope that clubs will enjoy some “proper” cricket activity within the club setting, as soon as they feel ready to do so, in compliance with the guidelines supplied.”
Update @ 16th July 2020, 11.30pm – CS Update and Draft Fixtures
The following message was issued to club secretaries tonight:
Dear Club Secretaries,
Hope this finds you all well. Another lengthy email tonight to update clubs on what is going on.
This email is 24 hours later than originally planned and, for those of you who have seen the CS announcement today, you will understand why. For those who haven’t, the announcement was as follows:
“Following the recent Scottish Government announcement that suggested we will be moving to Phase 4 during August, Cricket Scotland is mindful that clubs will require some time to prepare for game based activity potentially with modified rules and conditions.
We are currently working with sportscotland to agree a return to cricket fixtures and envisage this will be introduced first at an intra-club level (matches between members within the same club) followed by local friendlies. Our intention is to agree a match format which complies with Scottish Government rules on staying safe, social distancing and the test and protect guidance. We will issue this guidance as soon as it is authorised by sportscotland.
The timescales and restrictions relating to this are essentially driven by the Scottish Government, not Cricket Scotland and their next review date for this is on 30th July. Please be aware that previous relaxations have typically seen a staged approach, with a delay between announcement and implementation, therefore it is unlikely that inter-club fixtures (between different clubs) will be able to commence on 1st August.”
Obviously this has implications on what we had hoped to announce with respect to our planned friendly fixtures starting on 1st August. As such, we have quickly modified the plan to start 5 weeks of friendly fixtures from Saturday 8th August, through to Sunday 6th September. We foresee any matches that take place on the weekend of 1st and 2nd August to be intra-club matches. We would look for clubs to arrange these where possible, as format and numbers are likely to fluctuate.
ESCA Fixtures – The Premise
In terms of fixtures, I have attached what we have planned for each of the sub-regions in ESCA.
Note that the fixtures for non-Edinburgh clubs have some flexibility (given fewer issues with ground availability) and they should be seens as a framework within which to work. We are happy if clubs want to adjust to suit.
For Edinburgh clubs, where we have some real challenges around available grounds, we have included two scenarios that could be implemented depending on what SG/SS/CS guidance needs to be implemented. The scenarios are paired T20 matches (two matches at a ground, mainly on a Saturday, with the odd unavoidable Sunday) and a more free choice option that would allow 40 over cricket to be played, however a lot of games will be on a Sunday. A third option of T20 festivals at neutral venues was looked at, but due to greater ground availability than first expected, this has not been progressed further.
It may be that guidance will dictate the format (particularly with respect to limited welfare facilities), but I would note that paired T20 matches will give opportunity for a number of clubs to organise their own friendlies on a Sunday, should they wish to. It may also help with Junior or Women and Girl’s cricket logistics. The free format may cater for longer form, but with it comes greater limitation on clubs playing further friendlies over the same weekend.
Note that the pools of teams have been largely based on ESCA league position to try and avoid large mismatches. Pools 1a and 1b are a mix of Championship and Division 1 clubs, but the split here is also influenced by ground availability.
Note also that the ESCA based EPL clubs will be undertaking their own set of friendly fixtures over the same timeframe, but this is being separately organised by the clubs involved, with ESCA simply overseeing arrangements. The fixture list for ESCA sides may need to be tweaked to accommodate ground availability, something that we are working through.
ESCA Fixtures – Grounds
For the fixture planning in Edinburgh, where the biggest challenges exist, you will see that we have included a number of Edinburgh Leisure grounds. We have had good communication with EL in the last week and a half and have had it confirmed that artificial pitches will be available to play on, subject to adherence with all relevant guidance. Grass pitches will remain unplayable, except for Meggetland, where we await confirmation on the grass square. We are also thankful to clubs who have said that they are happy for clubs to use grounds as neutral venues. Fortunately we don’t have too many instances of this, but thanks in particular go to Edinburgh South, Inch Park Community Sports Club, as well as Grange and Carlton in helping us look at options with respect to ground planning.
Whilst the fixtures are there as guidance, it is up to both clubs to confirm final arrangements (particularly if we end up with the free format scenario). ESCA are happy for clubs to mutually agree a change of date, time or venue for the fixture (i.e. it may suit a club to play on a Sunday on a grass wicket rather than on a Saturday on an artificial). Clubs must communicate any changes to us prior to finalising and please note if there is an argument on this, we will advise both clubs to stay with the original scheduled arrangements.
Where clubs want to make a change to arrangements or add in additional fixtures, we would ask that clubs communicate with one another with respect to pitch availability issues, particularly for those who use Edinburgh Leisure facilities. We would ask that clubs who have ‘traditional long lets’ on pitches are given first refusal on any date. Please also note that any additional fixtures added must not be to the detriment of the fixture list (i.e. a club must look to fulfil the fixture arranged by ESCA and not call off to play in an alternative, subsequently arranged fixture).
ESCA Fixtures – Midweek Fixtures
ESCA will NOT be arranging any fixtures for clubs for midweek, with planning limited to Saturday/Sunday only. As such, if clubs want to arrange ad-hoc, midweek T20 friendlies, we are happy for them to do so, but would reiterate the need for clubs to follow all necessary Scottish Government, sportscotland and CS advice. Given the latest guidance, it is likely that midweek matches from 3rd to 7th August may have to be intra-club friendlies. We would note that this is likely to extend to the non-league clubs too, but we do not have clear guidance on the instance where one player plays for two separate clubs. Although ESCA does not have a remit in relation to non-league clubs, we will look to seek clarification around this point as it affects a number of players in ESCA.
ESCA Fixtures – Covid Measures and Mitigation
We would reiterate to clubs that to compete in any form of cricket, they will be subject to completing the necessary risk assessments and implementing all necessary measures to keep players, umpires, volunteers and members of the public safe.
Current guidance is available on the CS website: http://www.cricketscotland.com/covid-19-return-to-cricket/
We are expecting further guidance around what to expect on a match day, which will include steps for track and trace. We are likely to ask clubs to provide a teamsheet on the day to this end, but please look out for further guidance in due course.
As noted before, one of the other requirements is for clubs to put in place COVID ‘monitors’. These individuals will have a responsibility for ensuring that the measures put in place through the CS guidance and club’s own risk assessment are adhered to. They will also be key in liaising with the opposition in preparation for matches, to ensure that they understand what other/different measures may be in place at other grounds. As such, we are asking clubs to advise ESCA who their appointed COVID ‘monitors’ are, along with a contact email/phone number. We would ask that clubs do this now and through the existing ESCA contacts lists, through the match return system (https://www.cricketstats.org.uk/). This will be mandatory for any club wanting to undertake cricketing activities this year.
We are also expecting further guidance around welfare facilities and what can be done with respect to toilet facilities at Edinburgh Leisure grounds. It is likely that the responsibility for toilets would fall back to the club, including necessary cleaning.
ESCA Fixtures – Conduct
We cannot stress enough the fact that the reason why we have been driven to produce fixtures is to make sure as many people get to play cricket this summer as is possible. These fixtures are friendlies and we expect clubs to play them in keeping with the spirit of the game. One of the biggest things cited as pushing players away from playing cricket is behaviour. We know that even in friendlies, competitive instinct can take over, but players need to remember why they are there and it is imperative that Captains are responsible for their and their players’ actions.
ESCA do not want to have to get involved with any squabbles that may occur from a game and we would ask for clubs to work together to avoid or solve any disputes at the time. Ultimately it will come down to good communication.
We would note that players will still be subject to CS code of conduct and disciplinary action. ESCA do not want to have to deal with player misconduct but will, if necessary, including escalation to CS if the matter is of a serious nature.
ESCA Fixtures – Rules
We are not looking to impose specific rules on the matches as they are friendlies, and we ask that clubs follow the laws of cricket. We also ask clubs to play the game situation as there is little value in a team racking up 300 and skittling a team for below 100 in the context of a friendly. This is an opportunity for getting players involved and we would ask Captains to show the necessary leadership to use the opportunity positively.
In terms of eligibility, again we are not going to impose anything here, but we do ask clubs to apply some common sense. If, in a T20 paired match at one ground where 2 sides from the same game are playing consecutively, it could be that a player ends up playing in both games if the club is short of numbers or in longer form, playing two games in a weekend. Again, we’d ask Captains to apply common sense on this to limit any mismatches and give as many players the opportunity to be involved where possible.
Feedback from clubs
We have looked at this for some time over the last few weeks with a lot of moving targets, not least ground availability, and we think we have managed to come up with something that is feasible, very much with the mantra of getting as many clubs playing as possible. We know that this may not suit all, but we hope it will suit the majority. It should also take a lot of hassle away from clubs, so that you can focus on implementation of Covid guidance.
The important next steps for clubs is to talk to us and give us feedback on the proposals. We need you to tell us whether you would still like your teams to be involved and whether there are any issues we have overlooked. If you no longer want to be involved, that is fine, however we need to know now. For some clubs, we are still waiting for communication around the number of teams that you anticipate being able to raise (this is particularly the case for clubs in Fife and West Lothian). We also need to be made aware asap if there are any ground issues that have not been factored in. We also want to hear if clubs think they may have excess players as we may be able to help with communication between clubs with respect to ‘loaning’ of players to help bolster numbers.
Please can all clubs provide written confirmation that they want to partake in this (or otherwise) no later than Friday 24th July. This will give us 1 week to understand any further guidance that is issued from SG/SS/CS and tweak any fixtures as necessary. If we have not heard from you by this point, we will likely have to remove you from the fixture considerations to ensure other clubs are not affected by potential no-shows.
We thank clubs for their patience in what continues to be a challenging time for cricket and welcome all constructive feedback and ideas.
Update @ 13th July 2020, 4.30pm
CS have today given further guidance and additional information on matters relating to children and young people. The document can be found on their site here.
If there are any queries or suggestions, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
On from this, ESCA will be joining the next CS regional update call, scheduled for Wednesday 15th July and we will update clubs of any relevant guidance updates outcomes thereafter. ESCA are still planning for a 1st August restart at this point, but note there is still some work needing to be done (as outlined in our update on Friday). It is our intention to issue a draft fixture list to clubs on Wednesday evening, though this will be dependent on the outcomes of the CS call.
One thing we would like to confirm today is that ESCA will NOT be arranging any fixtures for clubs for midweek, with planning limited to Saturday/Sunday only. As such, if clubs want to arrange ad-hoc, midweek T20 friendlies, we are happy for them to do so, but would reiterate the need for clubs to follow all necessary Scottish Government, sportscotland and CS advice. Remember that we do note have a date for the scheduled restart of matches and, although we are looking to restart at beginning of August, there is a risk that the Scottish Government does not give the go ahead and this date would need to be pushed back.
Note also that although ESCA does not have a remit in relation to non-league clubs, we note that the guidance and necessary measures must also be complied with (at the very least it will be a requirement of ground hire and any insurance policies). If any non-league clubs based in the East of Scotland have any concerns, please get in contact with us and we’ll see how we may be able to help.
Update @ 10th July 2020, 12.30pm
A short update to all after the Scottish Government announcement yesterday and subsequent Cricket Scotland Update today. CS have emailed club secretaries today to advise they have some updated guidance from sportscotland following:
- Up to 15 individuals from no more than Five households can take part in outdoor cricket activity
- This remains subject to physical distancing measures at all times
- Non-professional adult contact sport will not resume before the 31st July
Children and Young People
- From 13th July – Up to Ten U12’s from different households may take part in a group activity with no requirement for social distancing
- From 13th July – Up to Ten 12 to 17 year olds from different households may take part in a group activity with no requirement for social distancing, however they must comply with the general population guidance (including social distance etc) before and after the activity.
- Coaches should not deliver training to more than 14 people from Four households (or extended households) at any one time or provide coaching to more than Four households (or extended households) per day, unless coaching children and young people (see below)
- Coaches can deliver training to children and young people on more than one occasion per day
- This remains subject to physical distancing measures at all times
This guidance has been updated on the Cricket Scotland COVID-19 page HERE.”
CS are also asking that clubs complete the short club survey to help them allocate available support and to learn what challenges clubs have had to face, after the initial return of cricket activity – RETURN TO CRICKET – CLUB SURVEY JULY 2020
So what impact does that have on ESCA’s planning? Given the update, ESCA are still working on the basis of a 1st August for matches BUT we will need to review the practicalities of this date. ESCA are due to have follow up discussions with CS in the next week around lead in time for guidance to clubs and what the guidance may look like. Whilst we may have some foresight given the guidelines that ECB issued this week, we do not yet know whether we will see the same in Scotland, or what it may mean for clubs. We do not yet have a clear steer of any restrictions on playing numbers, format and impact it may have on grounds. Looking at the ECB guidance, there would be a lot of work to do to get grounds ready.
Unfortunately this translates to the fact that we cannot give as much of a clear steer as we had intended. We had hoped to share a provisional fixture list early next week to show the planning that had been undertaken and how we were going to approach ground limitations. This was based on a shortened season from 1st August to 5th/6th September inclusive and looked at a couple of options around format, including festival style T20 and a more open format. This was also based on the survey feedback, more positive discussions with Edinburgh Leisure in the last week and thanks to the support from a couple of key individuals in the East League cricketing community.
I know that may be some frustration around this, and I would ask that clubs continue to exercise patience. ESCA and CS are very reliant on the information from Scottish Government and sportscotland, which is still very much a moving target. We would continue to ask that clubs don’t look to organise their own fixtures yet and also ask the clubs that have not yet come back to us on the survey, do so. We will continue to update all parties as soon as we have better information.
Update @ 2nd July 2020, 2.30pm
ESCA have received further guidance from CS in regards to guidance for clubs to return to cricket. This has been revised in line with discussion with sportscotland.
Please note there is one significant change to the key requirements document where we have been advised that toilet facilities can now open, in accordance with Scottish Government guidance.
Additionally, CS have noted that “outdoor hospitality, including catering and bar services can reopen from 6th July 2020 providing they adhere to Scottish Government guidance”.
As noted previously, CS are happy for any queries to be directed to them at the following email address: email@example.com
Update @ 29th June 2020, 7.30pm
Below is the message sent to club secretaries this evening.
Dear Club Secretaries,
I hope this finds you well and, for those who can, looking forward to getting back to cricket in the near future.
This (lengthy) email aims to give clubs a bit of an update on where ESCA are with things, as well as reiterate a few key messages.
Safe Return to Cricket
First off, we hope that everyone has seen the CS press release and subsequent ESCA information releases with respect to starting cricketing activities (training only) as of today (Monday 29th June). It is encouraging to see some of the clubs (largely those who have control over their own grounds) beginning to get things in place.
For those who haven’t, the important information is on the CS website (http://www.cricketscotland.
One of the required steps is to ensure that clubs have some form of booking system in place and there are a lot of tools that can be used to do this. There are two mentioned on the CS site (Skedda & Office 365), but we are also aware of other clubs using others such as Setmore (https://www.setmore.com/) and Appointlet (https://www.appointlet.com/). I’d suggest it is very much a case of finding what works for you as a club and if it is simply an online Google sheet, that may well suffice.
One of the other requirements is for clubs to put in place COVID ‘monitors’. These individuals will have a responsibility for ensuring that the measures put in place through the CS guidance and club’s own risk assessment are adhered to. They will also be key in liaising with the opposition in preparation for matches, to ensure that they understand what other/different measures may be in place at other grounds. As such, we are asking clubs to advise ESCA who their appointed COVID ‘monitors’ are, along with a contact email/phone number. We would ask that clubs do this through the existing ESCA contacts lists, through the match return system (https://www.cricketstats.org.
The big question from people is clearly, ‘What next’? This is where it gets tricky for ESCA and hopefully we can give some idea of our ideas and reasoning for them. One of the reasons it is tricky is that the guidance from the Scottish Government has changed already from what was the basis of the current CS guidance, with children and young people allowed to play organised outdoor contact sports as of 13th July. With respect to Juniors, we are having discussions with key individuals associated with Junior cricket in the East of Scotland, such as the Lothian Junior Group, whose clubs are currently being surveyed to ask what they would like to do re fixtures and what they are planning re training. We would ask to be made aware of clubs’ intentions with respect to juniors, so that we can help disseminate information as necessary.
In terms of senior cricket, the ESCA committee met last week to have further discussion around what we can do to assist, and the reality of the logistical challenges. We have made a couple of decisions, some of which are building on from information previously communicated.
First off, we have taken the decision that any cricket matches that are played in the East this season will be subject to a form of regionalisation. Currently this is in line with the Scottish Government guidance with respect to the 5 mile limit, however even if this is relaxed, we feel the limitations, challenges and risks associated with travelling too far afield are too high. There will undoubtedly still be challenges with localised public transport, but a reduced travel time should also help encourage people to play.
The regionalisation still requires some discussion, but it is our intention to split the current ESCA membership into sub-regions; Fife/Forth Valley, West, East, Borders and Edinburgh. Splitting it this way will give teams groups of 6 to 8 teams, giving opportunity to play localised friendlies. Excepting for Edinburgh, it is not ESCA’s intention to dictate fixtures for the sub-regions, but simply provide some guidance about how teams could set fixtures up and we will help clubs make contact with each other if it is needed, as well as clubs within other regional structures (such as SPCU).
Edinburgh, however, is a very different situation. I’ve noted in previous communications the challenges that teams in Edinburgh face, with a heavy reliance on school pitches and council grounds. Given the initial feedback from clubs in the survey, we anticipate that there could be as many as 36 Edinburgh based teams and there is a very real risk that a number of them would not have facilities to play at this year or where the steps to ‘return to cricket’ are too onerous. This could mean that some players simply do not get the opportunity to play cricket that others might and we run the risk of losing players from the game in the longer term.
ESCA are continuing to liaise with Edinburgh Leisure and schools (including those with pitches that have no club attached to it), but ESCA are looking to put in place steps to try and be fair to clubs who might otherwise not have any ground to play at. We have had some very positive discussions with a small number of clubs about hosting ‘festivals’ of cricket and creating ‘pools’ of teams (likely to be loosely based on ESCA league position) to play against each other over the August/September period. We are currently investigating the practicalities, but early planning has shown that using a minimum of 4 grounds, with a mix of both Saturday and Sunday T20 cricket, we anticipate being able to get 36 teams 6 matches each over August and September.
A structure like this would also mean that we have fewer grounds and volunteer committees needing to establish what may or may not be needed to keep people safe at a match. It may also give an opportunity for an income stream to the host clubs (perhaps even including bar takings if the Scottsh Government guidance has relaxed sufficiently).
I acknowledge that some of this is disaster planning, which may not ultimately be needed. We may find ourselves with more latitude by simply having more grounds available (we have a second plan if we can get around 10 grounds that would allow clubs some flexibility on format). Irrespective, we need to be prepared and I would hope clubs acknowledge that we are doing this to try and fulfil our obligation to give as many opportunities for cricket, to as many people as possible.
The key to making this work is with the clubs and communication with playing membership. In the initial survey, we asked clubs how many teams they thought they would be able to raise and whether their ground was likely to be available. Given what clubs and players now know, we need to see whether those numbers have changed. As such, please can all clubs respond to the queries below Sunday 5th July:
- Would your club be willing to participate in a T20 festival format, starting at the beginning of August, with a mix of games on a Saturday and Sunday?
- How many teams do you anticipate your club being able to field over a weekend in this format?
- Do you see your numbers changing if the matches were to be of a more flexible format, rather than solely T20.
- Will your ground be available to play matches on as of 1st August (please answer this as if one or more of your own teams will be playing on the ground on any one day and it is not going to be used as a neutral venue)?
Given everything above, we would ask the cricket community to bear with us on this and DO NOT arrange any ad hoc friendlies at this point. As soon as we have a better understanding around grounds and whether we need to continue down the route of a T20 festival idea, then we can hopefully relax this position. We are aiming to have an update to give to clubs shortly after the next Government announcement, currently set for mid July.
They have advise that sportscotland have approved the guidance for clubs to return to cricket, but have noted there is one significant change to the key requirements. Points 5 and 6 in the “10 Key Requirements for a safe return to cricket” have been revised in relation to toilet facilities, which it has been confirmed must remain closed at this point. The document has been revised and is now “9 Key Requirements for a safe return to cricket“. The revised document is below:
In a message to clubs, they have noted that their final guidance document has been submitted to sportscotland, with the expectation that it is approved within the next 24 hours. They have also launched a new website page with guidance and resources for clubs: http://www.cricketscotland.com/covid-19-return-to-cricket/. This page has templates for risk assessments and signage too.
On the page is a document outlining the “10 Key Requirements for a safe return to cricket” (Return to Cricket Guidance – 10 Key Requirements). We would encourage all those associated with cricket to read and understand the implications of these, particularly around facilities and implications it has on number of players/households who can train together. Note that the numbers are not driven by Cricket Scotland, but are based on Scottish Government guidance.
CS have acknowledged that there will be questions from clubs and members and have advised to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ESCA have moved their committee meeting to Thursday night due to wanting to wait for the sportscotland approval and will discuss the finer points of this and how we can help clubs. More to follow after that.
For those of you who have been following ESCA’s website or social media, you may have spotted an update from 1st June, after the latest call with Cricket Scotland. It can be seen here: http://www.eastleague.org.uk/news/covid-19-information-centre/
The main messages were:
- Reiteration of no cricketing activities of any sort prior to 1st July, with any activity on or after that only allowed once approval to do so has been granted.
- Reiteration of no cricket matches of any sort prior to 1st August, with any activity on or after that only allowed once approval to do so has been granted
- CS have been in discussion with sportscotland and Scottish Government with respect to cricket and lockdown easing and will continue to do so. It is their intention to build on the sportscotland template policy for restarting cricket (https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/ and https://sportscotland.org.uk/media/5723/getting-your-facilites-fit-for-sport.pdf)
- CS are also going to look at the implications around insurance (ESCA are also awaiting a response from the broker we take out insurance with).
ESCA subsequently had a committee meeting on 2nd June to discuss the above, the survey outcomes and possible next steps. We find ourselves in a little bit of a holding period, with no significant change from the last CS meeting and waiting for the next Scottish Government announcement and subsequent CS announcement. We are trying to push what we can forward, but not understanding ground availability from the likes of Edinburgh Leisure and schools is hamstringing us and we are reluctant to push ahead with anything at this point.
We have, however, agreed to start to implement a regionalised framework of groups of 5, (ideally) 6 or 7 clubs to build friendlies around. There is a natural split for most areas (Fife, West Lothian, East Lothian, Borders and City of Edinburgh). ESCA have some work to do around this, including to continue to discuss with SPCU and the West around nearby teams (e.g. Dunfermline, Glenrothes and Freuchie). Edinburgh teams will not be formally split at this point until ground availability has been established to help us ensure as many players can play, but we have some ideas how it could be split and it will likely focus on comparable standards of team too. Clubs would arrange fixtures within the framework to aim to have sides play each other once. The big question will be format, as whether it is 40 over or a pair of T20s on a single ground will be part dictated by ground availability (feedback from the survey showed that clubs were happy to play either format to ensure playing some cricket, but a small preference for 40 overs).
We have also taken the decision to cancel the Masterton and Braw Skelp trophies this year and simply encourage clubs to investigate social T20 cricket. The EPL clubs will have a more structured format, but will not be run as an ESCA competition.
By way of timeline for the next decision points, the next Scottish Government announcement is 18th June and we’d expect a CS call very shortly after. The next ESCA meeting is planned for 23rd June and we will feedback after this.
Please can I ask that clubs hold off organising anything formally until we have more of an understanding on grounds, which we are hoping to see shortly after the various announcements and once schools and EL know better what is happening and have something to target. Please can clubs contact us if they receive any updated information around ground availability.
What we would also ask is that clubs start to look at planning for implementation of all ‘restarting cricket’ measures, including all necessary health and safety documentation. We would suggest hanging fire on producing any formal documentation until we receive further CS guidance, but the sportscotland guidance is a good starting point for being prepared and we’d suggest getting a task force from within your club to take responsibility for this. Note that clubs must have the relevant procedures in place before any cricket activities can take place and be forewarned that we will expect clubs to be able to provide the necessary paperwork if asked to do so. Clubs must make sure that captains and players are aware of the restrictions and measures put in place and abide by them.
We would also ask clubs to engage with ESCA around any plans they may have started to implement.
I’m afraid we cannot be more definitive at this point, but will continue to update once we hear more. Please keep eyes on our website and social media.
Update @ 1st June 2020, 7.00pm
ESCA had a productive call with Cricket Scotland, other regional associations and representatives from the umpiring community this morning. The main headlines out of the call are:
- Reiteration of no cricketing activities of any sort prior to 1st July and only once approval to do so has been granted.
- Reiteration of no cricket matches of any sort prior to 1st August and only once approval to do so has been granted.
CS noted that they have been in discussion with Sport Scotland and Scottish Government with respect to cricket and lockdown easing and will continue to do so. It is their intention to build on the Sports Scotland template policy for restarting cricket (https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/ and https://sportscotland.org.uk/media/5723/getting-your-facilites-fit-for-sport.pdf); this is something ESCA will be looking for clubs to review and amend to suit their circumstances. CS are also going to look at the implications around insurance (ESCA are also awaiting a response from the broker we take out insurance with). It is clear there are a lot of hurdles still to be overcome before formal restart can happen, including Government sign off.
In terms of next steps in relation to CS, it is very much ‘watch this space’ for updates on the above.
In terms of ESCA’s next steps, we have a committee meeting tomorrow evening to discuss the above and strategy for what cricket may look like come 1st July and 1st August. We will also be discussing the feedback from the ESCA club/members’ survey that 32 of the clubs responded to on behalf of their members. This has reiterated a lot of what we suspected, but has also prompted some discussion around other aspects that clubs raised. It is positive to see that there is still appetite for cricket, in whatever form it takes, but not to the detriment of player health and safety.
We will be looking at the best ways to get as many people who want to play, playing safely. We have already started to look at regionalising teams to reduce travel and we will likely look to team ‘clusters’ to help provide a framework for any fixtures. If we do go down this route, ESCA will determine the best clusters based on location, strength of team (where known) and ground availability. We have already reached out to others (such as SPCU) to discuss how we might best help clubs and whether collaboration may be possible/better. We will also be having discussions with the Masterton committee around wether it is practical to run any Masterton competition this year and what it may look like if so.
Please can clubs contact us if they receive any updated information around ground availability. We would also ask clubs to engage with ESCA around any plans they may have started to implement.
There is a lot for ESCA to be doing and we would ask for a little time to assess the best course of action and we will provide further updates in due course.
Update @ 28th May 2020, 9.20pm
Update from CS based on the Scottish Government update earlier today.
Ultimately no change to dates previously noted.
Update @ 15th May 2020, 8.15pm
The ECB have shared some guidance on the use of outdoor cricket facilities in lockdown, aimed at offering practical support to players and clubs “on the steps they should take to remain safe while undertaking exercise in an outdoor cricket club environment”. The link is below.
Note that these only apply in England just now, but give an indication of what might be in place when Scotland follows suit.
Update @ 13th May 2020, 5.15pm
A further updated from Cricket Scotland has been issued today, after consultation with the Regional Associations yesterday. The CS recommendations can be summarised as follows:
- All cricketing activities suspended until 1st July
- On the basis of above, given that we need a run into the season, all regional associations have broadly agreed to cancel all competitive league cricket across Scotland and national competitions.
- Regional Associations allowed to make their own call on cup competitions and what cricket can be made available. Likely that this is August, with some making mention of potentially September for some clubs where facilities may allow it.
The full CS statement can be read here: http://www.cricketscotland.com/advice-on-covid-19/
We know clubs and members will be disappointed, but we discussed this at length at last night’s committee meeting and believe this is the right call.
So to the what next. We want to look at facilitating something if it is safe to do so, but need to understand restrictions and challenges that might be in place and/or whether there is any appetite. Therefore we have today reached out to clubs to start discussions with their members around safety, the want to play and logistics. We are asking clubs to provide responses to 10 questions relating to what the 2020 season might look like if cricketing activity is possible. Responses are to be returned by 20th May, to allow us some time to collate and start preparing as necessary, prior to the next CS call.
Note that all cricket would need to be local/regionalised and therefore opinion on this is intentionally not being requested, though clubs can add anything on this if they feel they want to.
My own view is that we need clubs to be realistic about what is possible and safety must be a priority. If there is to be any cricket I’d suggest the focus is on participation and keeping people engaged. We also know some players may not want to play at all and it may mean clubs coming together to help get teams out or be flexible on format.
As always, please give me a call or drop me a message of you want to discuss anything.
Remember to review the ESCA Covid-19 Information centre (http://www.eastleague.org.uk/
Update @ 24th April 2020, 12.15pm
An update from Cricket Scotland within the last 24 hours on the time line for cricket in the current lockdown. CS have recommended, in conjunction and agreement with all Scottish associations, that it will wait until the 7th May (when further UK Government advice on lockdown and possible exit strategy is expected) before making any further decision on the future of the domestic cricket season in Scotland.
The ECB have also put out a statement on professional cricket in England which can be read here: ECB Link Here
ESCA’s next committee meeting will be 12th May and we will be discussing what cricket may look like once the season opens back up, in whatever form. We will continue to keep people up to date as things progress.
A reminder also about completing the CS Equality Survey. It doesn’t take long and we’d encourage all those involved in cricket in Scotland to complete it.
Update @ 11th April 2020, 8.45am
Confirmed that sadly the Public Parks Association has taken the decision to cancel the Parks and Terry Newcombe Trophies for 2020. This is the first time it’s not been played since during and shortly after the Second World War. Back in 2021. #publicparks
Update @ 23rd March 2020, 6.00pm :
CS have recommended, in conjunction and agreement with all Scottish associations, that all cricket activity in Scotland is further suspended until the 1st June 2020.
This recommendation for suspension applies to all cricket activity including pre-season training, friendlies and any cricket programmes from recreational through to professional teams across Scotland.
There are a number of other things happening in the background which will be shared in due course to make sure all are as prepared as possible for a restart to the season when it comes. This will include implications on fixture list.
If clubs have any concerns, want to chat through the implications or have any ideas, please contact us.
We will keep all updated as and when things develop.
CS statement here: http://www.cricketscotland.com/cricket-scotland-statement-covid-19-2/
Update @ 18th March 2020, 11:30pm :
ECB have today put out a statement indefinitely suspending all cricketing activities. It is expected that CS and ESCA will follow suit, but we will be looking to provide some guidance on the planning that is taking place to allow the quick restart of activities once it is safe to do so.
Update @ 16th March 2020, 11:30pm :
Due to the Covid-19 situation, we have postponed the Introduction to Umpiring Course due to take place on 23rd March to a later date.
Cricket ball pick up tomorrow night (17th March) will still take place.
Update @ 16th March 2020, 8:00pm :
CS Statement & ESCA Advice
CS have made an announcement on their guidance to Covid-19, aligning with the UK Government’s guidance to avoid all non-essential social contact.
The full statement can be read here: http://www.cricketscotland.com/cricket-scotland-statement-covid-19/
The implications of the guidance is that, with immediate effect, we recommend that clubs cancel all training, events (e.g. social gatherings) and limit pre-season activities where groups of people would congregate.
ESCA will work with CS over the next couple of days to review implications on the planned 2nd May season start, with a delayed start or rescheduling a possibility.
Keep reviewing this page and our social media for updates.
Update @ 14th March 2020, 11:00am :
ESCA SGM & Pre-season Meeting Postponement
In light of the moving Covid-19 situation, we have taken the decision to postpone the ESCA pre-season meeting and SGM from 17th March, to another date TBC.
We will still be taking delivery of the cricket balls for the season from Readers and we will still be looking for clubs to pick these up on the night as we cannot store them all. We would ask that ONE person from each club come to Stewart’s Melville Pavilion at Inverleith on Tuesday 17th March from 7pm onwards to pick up balls only. We will also pass the player awards from 2019 to relevant clubs at this point. If clubs cannot attend, please let us know.
We will review the way in which rule changes are voted on in the coming week, but this will be largely dependent on the advice we get. We will be looking at conference call facilities, Google docs voting or equivalent.
At this point, ESCA are NOT advising clubs to cancel senior player training, unless we are told otherwise. Clubs should review their own circumstances and make an assessment, following all appropriate NHS and Government advice. We note that Sport England (and the ECB) have issued guidance noting to continue at this point in time, but will continue to review the ongoing situation. We are aware that there has been guidance on international, regional and junior cricket sessions from CS and this should be followed.
We continuing to plan for a season start on 2nd May, but will continue to review this as more information becomes available.
Any questions, please contact us.
Update @ 13th March 2020, 8:45pm :
An update from the MCC on Covid-19 is attached for information. There is no significant change in message in this, or from ESCA at this point.
Update @ 12th March 2020, 12 noon :
Cricket Scotland is monitoring the evolving coronavirus situation and the uncertainties around how it will develop over the next weeks and months.
Advice from Scottish Government in regards to COVID-19 continues to focus on infection control and the attached Joint COVID-19 fact sheet which provides additional information in regards to sports teams.
During cricket activities please take these guidelines into consideration, for example, handshakes before, during or after games and the sharing of equipment and balls. Please also check the latest government advice when considering multi team events or activities.
For more information and advice on COVID-19, please read the following webpages:
Cricket Scotland will update clubs on further advice prior to the start of the domestic season