With the return of international cricket and the continued easing of physical distancing rules to allow more regular activities to take place, west Leeds cricket clubs have been making preparations to welcome matches and members back to their grounds. There are seven clubs across west Leeds playing in grounds from Kirkstall to Pudsey, Calverley to Farsley.
Community reporter Jim Corah spoke to some of them to see how they were doing with the return of cricket, what precautions they have in place, and what they thought about the first international test cricket since lockdown. Today: Pudsey Congs Cricket Club.
Chris Doey, on the management committee at Pudsey Congs, who play at the Amber Cars Britannia Ground on Intake Road, said that it was exciting cricket was returning because in March they thought they would never play cricket this summer.
Congs’ first Bradford League match will be on Saturday 25 July 2020 (opponent to be confirmed at time of writing), with a friendly on 18th July 2020. For this season the league has been rearranged slightly, with six teams per league instead of 12, with teams playing each other once.
There will not be promotion or relegation this year, so Congs will be focusing on promotion to the Premier League next year.
The clubhouse has been open for spectators, with plenty of space outside if the weather is good enough, and room for 60 inside. Chris said that there were a number of entrances to the clubhouse which allows for flow.
Gazebos were being considered for the players, as they were unable to use the changing rooms. Extra benches have been put out though it remained “very much the same” experience for members and spectators alike.
Players had been training whenever possible through out lockdown. When restrictions allowed PCCC players trained one to one, then in groups of six, and up to 25 between the different squads.
It was very much the aim of “being prepared to play” as soon as the teams where allowed to, to be “fitter than the rest” as they already had the skill set to play. Congs trained on Saturdays, allowing them to offer out the Amber Cars Britannia Ground on Monday-Friday nights to pro and local coaches.
Chris also discussed the recent first Test between England and the West Indies. It was “different” and not the return expected, and obvious that not a lot of cricket had been played. Chris had arranged leave to watch the first day from home, though it had been a rainy day.
Despite the result it was great to see cricket again, and in three or four games England should “be okay”.