Dear All,

The purpose of this email is to provide an update and some general information on this year’s cricket season.

President’s Message

Fellow Army cricketers, I write at what is an extraordinary time for us all. It is a period of great uncertainty, and it goes without saying, that I send my very best wishes to you and your families. Sadly, these unprecedented times are putting a proverbial coach, and quite a few horses through our aspirations to enjoy the cricket season; but we are lucky enough to be in a profession that fosters team work, agility, flexibility and patience – something that is absolutely true of Army Cricket, too. In Mike Thornley’s excellent update below, you will see that the Army Cricket Association are doing everything we can to get some cricket played this season. So, can I ask that you remain agile, patient and flexible, and hopefully we might hear leather on willow later this year. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and I urge you to stay connected with each other.

Major-General James Illingworth OBE| Director Land Warfare and President of ACA

Current Situation

We are following Direction and Guidance from a variety of sources:

• HMG / MOD – as per the latest news updates.

• ECB. The current ECB position is that there will be no cricket (professional, amateur or recreational) until at least 1 Jul 20. You can follow the latest information and updates on the Covid19 Update section of the ECB Website which can be found here: https://www.ecb.co.uk/news/1648243/ecb-covid-19-announcements-and-updates

• UKAF. The latest direction from the UKAF Sports Board is:

o Participation in UKAF sporting events. I can confirm that the cessation of all UKAF representative sporting activity is to remain in place until further notice. UKAF overseas visits are also to be cancelled or postponed until further notice. Please ensure this direction is passed to your chairs, team captains and managers.

o Inter Service Fixtures. Single Service sports boards authorise the participation of their single Service teams in Inter Service events. RN and RAF direction to their sports associations has been to cease activity until further notice and the Army has suspended activity until 30 Jun 20. Inter Service fixtures are therefore to cease until further notice.

• UKAFCA / ACA . UKAFCA and ACA will follow the Direction & Guidance provided above.

Way Ahead for ACA

Clearly we are constrained by the current situation and the associated restrictions. Realistically, there are 2 possible scenarios:

1.   We do not play any competitive cricket this season.

2.   We are able to conduct some form(s) of cricket towards the latter part of the summer.

If (as hoped) we are able to resume cricket then the ACA priority will be to play grass roots cricket. This will include some format of the Inter-Unit Cup and some Corps Matches.

UKAFCA and Army Cricket. If possible we will also generate some UKAFCA and Army Fixtures noting that many of our potential opponents have already declared that they will play no cricket this season.

Inter-Services. It is almost certain that there will be no Inter-Services fixtures in 2020. One slight silver lining is that the Army will retain the 4 out of 5 Inter-Service Trophies that we currently hold!

Corps Cricket.

o It may be possible for Corps to arrange some standalone Inter-Corps fixtures.

o We may be able to arrange a short notice Inter-Corps T20 Competition along similar lines to the one that will be postponed (3 days in 3 locations). Corps Reps are to cfm their willingness and ability to participate in this event if we can get it off the ground. Indicative responses to me by NLT 15 May 20.

Unit Cricket. We will email those units that have entered the Inter-Unit Cup and ask them to BPT participate in a short notice and inevitably compressed version of the competition (should circumstances allow).

Funding

  • Sponsorship. ACA will not receive any sponsorship funding this season.
  • Entry Fees. We will review the entry fees paid for Corps and Unit competitions in due course. If it is not possible to play at all then entry fees will either be held over until next year or returned.

Coaching

  • Those coaches that are / have remained members of the ECB CA are getting comms and resources from Edgbaston, either by e mail or via the extant online resource (‘icoachcricket’) as usual.
  • There’s also plenty available to all players and coaches via social media to make the most of the time available during the restrictions – be that ideas on drills and skill practices in the back garden or living room, or whatever.
  • If players and coaches are following the ECB, the ECB CA and/or the Counties and well-known players, there’s more than enough ideas and challenges to sustain their interest…..if they’re not tied up in the supporting effort.

Officials

  • The ACO  held a virtual AGM on 29 Apr 20.
  • All ACO members (umpires and scores) are being kept up to date via ACO and/or ECB including links to online resources.
  • As you are aware Corps are expected to have their own scorers to support fixtures. During the current downtime anyone can complete the basics of scoring course which is available free on the ECB website. You will need to register but it’s not complicated and doesn’t take long. You will also discover some unusual quirks of the rules of cricket and the dark art of scoring. Basics of Scoring on the ECB Website:

https://booking.ecb.co.uk/c/express/b3ff5124-d7fd-4e6b-acb4-806ca3d33e56

Governance

  • We will be reviewing and updating the ACA Handbook.
  • During the extended close season all Corps should ensure that they review and update their own governance processes, documentation and procedures including: committee structure, reference documents and safety management.
  • There are only so many times that you can watch a rerun of England’s World Cup win over New Zealand so this is the ideal time to tackle tasks that you may have been putting off or avoiding altogether.

Infrastructure

  • We have attempted to maintain progress on a number of projects (within the rules of social distancing). This has included:

o A new pavilion (upmarket shed) for the Aldershot Lower Ground.
o Refurbishment of the main pavilion including redecoration and a long overdue new (and safe) staircase.
o The ground is looking in good condition and will probably benefit from the reduction in matches this season.
o We are waiting for a change in the situation before completing the refurbishment of the outdoor nets.

Smoking Policy

  • As a warning order for when the season does start, there will be restrictions on smoking in the vicinity of sports facilities.
  • The official line is no smoking at all within the ground (as is the case with the Royal Navy ground at Portsmouth) but we have adjusted it to be that there will be no smoking in the pavilion of on the front steps. Smoking can take place (if it must) at the front sides of the pavilion steps but smokers must use the designated bins and clear up after themselves.
  • Team management, Captains and seniors will be expected to advertise and police this revised policy. If it’s not done properly we will simply revert to a total ban.

Communications

We will endeavour to keep the passage of information updated using various platforms including:

• The ACA Website: https://cricket.armysportcontrolboard.com/
• The Army Cricket Facebook Page – a closed Group for eligible individuals. If you want access then apply to join and I will consider it!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/108964999145680/?ref=bookmarks

• The ECB website (referenced previously).

Any questions or comments pse get in touch.

Regards,

Mike

MT THORNLEY |Lt Col (Retd) |Secretary UKAFCA/ACA| Army Sport Control Board | Mackenzie Building, Fox Lines, Queens Avenue, ALDERSHOT, Hants, GU11 2LB | 94222 7074 | 01252 787074|Mobile 07786 094178|Email: mthornley@ascb.uk.com