Coronavirus: Welsh Government considering cricket return – BBC News

Cricket clubs in Wales can be hopeful that play will soon resume

The Welsh Government could allow “organised” cricket to return as part of next week’s review of lockdown restrictions.

First Minister Mark Drakeford is considering the resumption of outdoor non-contact team sport.

Currently only non-team outdoor sports – such as tennis and bowls – are permitted below elite level.

Cricket Wales chief executive Leshia Hawkins said she was “hugely heartened” by the news.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said cricket in England could resume from Saturday 11 July, although earlier had said he had concerns over issues surrounding “communal teas and dressing rooms”.

Any resumption of cricket in Wales is likely to include a ban on using saliva to polish the ball, with restrictions on the use of dressing rooms and tea-rooms.

Only two players are currently allowed to practice together in Wales, compared to six in England.

Speaking at Friday’s Welsh Government briefing, Mr Drakeford said: “The resumption of team sports outdoors where they are non-contact sports is very much on the list of things that we are considering, but that is a list with quite a lot of other things that are still in play.

“And in the end, as the chief medical officer (Dr Frank Atherton) always reminds me, our job is to look at the cumulative impact of all the different things that we might be able to ease in the context of the virus.”

The First Minster was due to hold talks to go through the list of potential restrictions to be lifted ahead of next the next announcement on Friday, 10th July.

“Outdoor team sports of an organised sort is very much on that list,” he added.

“I won’t be able to let people know the outcome until we weigh that up with all the other things that we might be able to change, and when we know this time next week what the state of the virus circulation is here in Wales.”

Cricket clubs in Wales are hoping to salvage part of the season even though most formal league competitions will not take place.

“We will continue to respect the law and await next Friday’s official review with cautious optimism,” tweeted Hawkins.

Professional and elite team sport have already been allowed to resume in Wales, providing safety protocols are followed.

Glamorgan returned to part-time training on Wednesday following confirmation of county cricket restarting on 1 August.

Mr Drakeford said he was looking forward to returning to watch cricket at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff when that was possible, while also admitting he would be interested in exploring how outdoor gyms might be allowed to be organised.

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