Suffolk's Andrew Squire 'gutted' to lose chance of competitive cricket in 2020 after ECB approve NCCA T20 competition cancellation
Suffolk County Cricket Club Chairman Andrew Squire said it was ‘gutting’ after the prospect of playing any competitive cricket this summer was ruled out, writes Nick Garnham.
The ECB Cricket Committee on Tuesday approved the cancellation of the National Counties Cricket Association T20 competition in line with other national recreational competitions.
This endorsed the decision taken at a meeting of the National Cricket Counties Association Members’ Forum, who voted narrowly against trying to stage a T20 competition because of the risks still involved with COVID-19.
With no prospect of three-day cricket, the 20 counties were asked to vote on whether or not to play a T20 competition, across six weeks starting in August.
This was the preferred option put forward by the NCCA, with a 50-over competition taking eight weeks to complete.
Suffolk would have been in the same group as Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk, with the winners of the four groups meeting on a finals day in September.
Squire said: “From our perspective we were very keen on trying to make something happen, but the more I listened to the conversations today and the distances some of the counties have to travel, for example Staffordshire to Northumberland is over 200 miles, I think the risk to everybody was the key thing that came across.”
“Probably the best way to describe the decision is gutting as we have done such a lot of work over the winter period. Andy Northcote as performance coach has done a brilliant job in trying to get all the boys together and we have started to form a really quite young side that fits into the criteria of the new NCCA brand.
“Not to have any cricket is quite sad for me having just been voted in as chairman as I thought we were as well prepared as we ever have been for this season with a very young side, so the prospects for us were very looking good.”
Asked if he thought the prospect of no competitive cricket would have any long-term repercussions for Suffolk, Squire said: “I would like to think there isn’t, but if you look across the board and look at recreational cricket it is fairly evident that there are lots of people who have decided this year that cricket is not their main agenda over the weekends.
“I would like to think the group of players we have got here are all looking to play club and recreational cricket for the next few weeks, most of the boys are playing Premier League cricket, so hopefully they will all be ready to get prepared for next year.”
Squire, who still plays for Mildenhall CC, said that the NCCA, the new name for the former Minor Counties Cricket Association, had agreed that counties could potentially play some friendlies later in August.
He added: “We are quite keen to try to play some cricket. We have still got to chat to the players to see if that is the right way to go and if it is and they agree we will try to get a couple of games, but we will see what happens over the next few weeks.”