Cricket clubs get go-ahead to fire up for belated start to season – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Cricket clubs get go-ahead to fire up for belated start to season

David Burt, the Premier, is keen to see Cup Match and county cricket resume this summer (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Government cleared the way for teams to return to training when the Premier announced during a press conference on Tuesday night that sport had been returned to Phase 3 of the Return to Play guidelines.

David Burt was speaking particularly about the main summer sport, cricket, but indicated that all sport could move to the next phase of activities, starting with training.

The start of the cricket season has been delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the Bermuda Cricket Board recently instructing clubs to cease training because of an increase in positive cases.

However, the announcement by the Premier will be welcome news for both the Board and the clubs, with Burt also expressing his desire to see county matches and Cup Match played this summer.

“In keeping with sport, we are now moving to Phase 3 of the Return to Play Strategy,” Burt confirmed.

“The Government has advised the Bermuda Cricket Board that training can resume, with saliva testing being administered to all players. Discussions have also begun to restart the league, and county cricket, as well as holding our annual Cup Match celebration.”

That will be good news for St George’s Cricket Club whose president, Neil Paynter, admitted to The Royal Gazette this week that some uncertainty still surrounded the two-day classic scheduled for Wellington Oval on July 29 and 30.

Paynter said the club was still waiting on guidance and approval from the Government to stage the event, with their preparations already “behind the eight-ball” with Cup Match just ten weeks away.

The BCB had hoped to start the season earlier this month but is now looking at mid-June. Arnold Manders, the BCB president, emphasised that players at the clubs have to first be tested before they can resume training.

“All the players on the roster at every team will have to be tested before they can start training, and then tested every three or four weeks after that, just to keep everybody safe,” Manders said.

“We’re looking to start on June 19, which gives clubs a month to get ready. We don’t want to have another outbreak because we’re not following the health and safety protocols.

“We’re having a meeting with the clubs tomorrow to go through what it is going to look like and what their responsibilities are to make sure that we get to start the season and finish it.”

The president added: “If we get the protocols done and monitor them, and if the players, officials and everyone else involved in the game get tested and if positive stay away, we should be fine. It’s up to the honesty of the players and officials.

“We need to put everything in place to make sure that we keep our players, officials and spectators — if we can have spectators — safe.”

Sport has been severely impacted by Covid-19 since last year when major events such as the Bermuda Day Half-Marathon Derby, Cup Match and the Eastern Counties Cup were cancelled.

Now there are signs of a return to normality, starting with the Bermuda Day running and cycle races in eight days’ time.

“In keeping with sport, we are now moving to Phase 3 of the Return to Play strategy,” Burt said.

“The Government has advised the Bermuda Cricket Board that training can resume, with saliva testing being administered to all players. Discussions have also begun to restart the league, and county cricket, as well as holding our annual Cup Match celebration.”

Burt announced on Tuesday the launch of a Covid-19 safe key programme, which would give people who had been vaccinated or recently received a negative test a printable form with a QR code.

“Safe key may also enable us to reopen local sport as well as other indoor and outdoor activities, allowing our people to enjoy some of our national pastimes,” the Premier said.

“The pilot has the potential to be a useful tool to help continue our positive trend towards eliminating local transmission and to make sure we can continue the process of reopening our economy and allowing business to resume.

“It is hopeful that we will learn from the successful application of this technology so that we can begin to plan for the resumption of important events like Cup Match, knowing that there is a method to reduce the risk for fans that may be attending, for staff and players alike.”

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Published May 21, 2021 at 8:25 am (Updated May 21, 2021 at 8:25 am)

Cricket clubs get go-ahead to fire up for belated start to season

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