I am sure that I am not alone in reflecting on the irony of us having such wonderful weather and yet being unable to play. We should have played seven league matches by now, and we would have lost very little play. 
 
Since my last blog, I have been on a further ECB teleconference about the current Covid-19 situation. Guidance was issued about the use of practice facilities, and this has subsequently been strengthened. Finance is, of course, an issue for the leagues – many will not receive money from sponsors this year (which puts them on a par with us) – but means that ECB funding is all the more important. We normally receive at least £3k per year from the ECB that we use to cover running costs. That is unlikely to materialise this year – but it will be counterbalanced by the fact that our expenditure will be significantly less, and we will cope. 
 
Everyone, quite naturally, wants to know when we may be able to restart recreational cricket. At this moment, any speculation is pure guesswork. The ECB want us to be able to respond if we get the green light to play, and we will be ready to do so – but we are a way off that yet. There will be further government announcements on 1 June. There will then be further discussions between ECB and government officials, after which we may get an indicative date that we can work towards. If I had to make an educated guess (and that is all it is) I would say that we may be able to start sometime between mid-July and mid-August. If that is the case, we will look to organise 20 and 40-over tournaments for those clubs that are able to participate. This will depend on the clubs’ ability to access the necessary supporting infrastructure. 
 
Aside from that, our talks about the proposed merger between our league and the South Yorkshire Senior Cricket League have progressed well. I pay particular tribute to David Ward and Matt Summerhill for their positive contributions to this work so far. I also participated in a VC meeting with the SYSCL committee members last week, and whilst they had some concerns about a few points, the overall response was one of support for the idea. I think that people see that it is the way forward for South Yorkshire cricket, and that we can put in place a structure that will put us in the best possible position for the next twenty years and more. 
 
One of the main principles for us is that what we do should affect the clubs as little as possible – and then only in a positive way. It is a challenge to put in place a structure that will support all the levels of recreational cricket, from teams who just want to roll up on a Saturday afternoon, have a game of cricket and then go to the pub afterwards; right through to Premier League cricket – the pinnacle of the recreational game. But I believe that we have the ability, experience and knowledge to do that. 
 
These issues have been my priorities over the last two weeks or so, but I also I continue my daily website articles for Hull Kingston Rovers; I am also writing a series of articles about the clubs’ 50 ‘greats’ for the new Heritage website; and I finished updating the season-by-season statistical summaries for the RL Record Keepers Club – only to get embroiled in a difference of opinion over the validity of statistics from the WWII Emergency League! 
 
Last Wednesday I had a very pleasant evening with my son, Gavin. He ordered and collected some fish and chips, I took some beer, and we sat in his garden and talked for nearly three hours. A simple pleasure that we had not had since lockdown. Which set me thinking ….. 
 
This morning, I was sitting in the garden in the sunshine with Kirsty, and asked her for her reflections on lockdown. This is what she had to say. 
 
‘I want to say upfront that we have been incredibly lucky, because we have not been touched by this virus in the way that others have, and I know they have had a very rough time. Things like birthday celebrations have been affected, and I have not seen my family as much as I would like to, but otherwise I have felt a bit like an ‘outsider looking in.’ 
 
‘On the positive side, everything has slowed down and people have had a bit more time for themselves and for others. I really like that, and I don’t want everything to speed back up to what it was before. I think that time and space to reflect are really important. 
 
‘This may be a generalisation, but I think that there has been more consideration towards others – both for strangers and for people we know – people have not been so self-centred. There has been more politeness too, people speak when you are out for a walk. I think it has underlined that a little bit of kindness goes a long way. 
 
‘For once it has been ok to be an introvert. It has been alright to stay at home and not feel any pressure to be going to places. 
 
‘For the first time in my life, I think that there has been a real sense of the country coming together and being united – as in supporting the NHS. 
 
‘I have loved the silence – just being able to hear the wind in the trees, the birdsong and the animals (at this point the next door neighbour started drilling in his garden – honestly!). Having no aeroplanes overhead and constant traffic noise has been brilliant – the air has been so much clearer too! 
 
‘I reflect how fortunate I am to have been brought up by a mum and nanan who taught me to cook and bake – and not to have to rely on opening a tin or pre-prepared food. I can’t imagine how people who can’t cook have managed. Incidentally, who are all those people who suddenly wanted to bake and bought all the flour and yeast?? 
 
‘Which brings me to another point. I am looking forward to when there is an analysis of how people responded to the crisis. What will it conclude about those people whose first response was to rush out and buy mountains of toilet paper?? 
 
‘Another positive note is how so many small businesses have responded. We use an independent butcher, fishmonger and greengrocer, who have remained open throughout and who have responded brilliantly to the extra need generated by the crisis. I hope that the new business they have gained will remain loyal to them afterwards. 
 
‘I have missed going to the gym, but I have been going for longer walks and have discovered online classes – particularly yoga, which I think has helped my joints. These actually fit better into my working day than the gym classes, which of course are not flexible – and I don’t have to get there and back! 
 
‘At work, the country has opened up in a way it had not before. I work in the headquarters of a large government department that was very London-centric in its ways. Because we now communicate through video and tele-conferences, this is not the case anymore – geography is no longer important. Everyone is more equal. My working day is a succession of ‘meetings’ and I hope that when this is all over we will continue to work this way and cut out most of the stressful and tiring travelling we did before. I am sure the principles will apply in all organisations that have headquarters and ‘outposts’. 
 
‘On the negative side, I think the news media has been appalling. There has been so much negativity and scaremongering; repeating the same things over and again; and getting hold of completely the wrong end of the stick when talking about government messages. It has been boring, unhelpful and depressing. For me, listening to a presenter on TV referring to what happened during the Black Death (which arrived in England in the year 1348) and the Great Plague (1665, the year before the Great Fire of London ) when of course life was so similar to life today, as an indicator of may happen in this crisis, was the ultimate absurdity and the bin ends of a very deep barrel they have been scrapping about in for weeks and weeks.’ 
 
Anyone else want to volunteer their thoughts on the subject? I can arrange a call to write them down! 
 
Till next time – stay safe! 
 
Roger 
 
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