Sudbury Cricket Club see strong uptake from teenagers to outdoor nets opening

Russell Claydonin Cricket

The glorious sound of leather on willow rang out from Sudbury Cricket Club's Friars Street ground on Saturday following the nets opening.

Sudbury Cricket Club reopen their nets

Mecha Morton

Players would have traditionally moved to their outdoor training programme in the weeks leading up to the season start date on April 18.

But the coronavirus lockdown meant the club's facilities had gone unused until Saturday.

Time slots had to be booked by members who had to adhere to social distancing measures to take advantage of picking up bat and ball at Friars Street once again.

Club captain Darren Batch, who oversaw Saturday's session, with Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as Sunday afternoons, made available to members, said: "It is strange with the current situation with the uncertainty in whether we are going to play matches but the rationale behind it is we want to give our members a bit of a chance to play some cricket.

"With the weather having been fantastic, we just wanted people to be able enjoy it without really having to focus on practising for matches."

He said the take up from their younger members had been the most pleasing thing, as their lack of participation in the sport during the lockdown had provided one of the biggest worries.

"It has been mainly our teenage younger players that have come down which is a really positive sign for the club," he said.

"One of the worries from the ECB is if you do not have cricket for a whole year you are going to lose a lot of teenagers as that age is where you can get a big drop off."

He praised Phil Halliday, the junior section's head coach, and head groundsman David Oakes for their work in getting the site ready for reopening.

"We usually have a working party to do things like that, so a lot of credit has to go to both of them." he said.

With the retail sector getting the green light from the government to reopen from June 15, Batch is feeling more confident that the 2020 season will not be totally lost to the pandemic.

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