NETHERFIELD and Kendal could be forced to wait until July to get their Northern Premier Cricket League seasons under way – if the campaign is even able to go ahead due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following the England and Wales Cricket Board’s decision to suspend all forms of the sport in keeping with Government advice around social distancing in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus, both clubs now face an uncertain period as they wait for news about if and when they will finally be able to get started.

The league issued a joint statement with the Palace Shield Cricket Competition confirming that no cricket would be played before June and suggesting even that was optimistic, with July 1 put forward as a more likely start date if the season is able to begin.

It said: “At this point in time, we offer the following guidance:

n There will be no senior league cricket in the NPCL-PS structure before May 31 and it is unlikely that there will be any league cricket before July 1.

n In the NPCL-PS structure, we will resume recreational cricket as and when it is deemed safe to do so. We will follow government and expert advice.

n As and when we do start our season, we will ensure that we are playing meaningful, competitive cricket. The form and nature of that competition will be decided on in due course through consultation with our clubs.

n There will be no junior league cricket before May 31 and it is unlikely that there will be any junior league cricket before July 1.

n Inter-league age group cricket may become possible in the second half of the season.

n Almost certainly, there will be no All Stars or Dynamos programmes running before July 1, 2020.”

Netherfield club secretary Ian Heath supported the decision to delay fixtures and welcomed the fact that a date had been provided for clubs to aim for as a potential new start date for their season.

He said: “I think everybody needed to have a date to work towards, rather than drifting on, particularly with clubs who have got professionals or overseas players.

“It seems like a sensible date (July 1) because that would be the halfway stage of the season so to start then would make sense.”

The club were set to have a pair of accomplished players arriving from New Zealand to play a part – one a professional and the other an amateur – and will now have to work out how to proceed.

The league also confirmed measures like waiving or modifying annual fees and subscriptions and offsetting the cost of cricket balls could be put in place to help club’s deal with the financial strain.

The statement continued: “The LCF are looking at ways they might use the Small Grants Fund.

“The ECB are exploring all contingencies and all pots of money.

“Any club with an ECB loan is very likely to get a repayment holiday.”