Another soggy weekend gives Bristol & District League administrators further headaches
RESULTS were possible in only a handful of games as club cricket in the Bristol area was again washed out.
Although the great majority of matches got underway thanks to excellent drying conditions on Friday and Saturday morning, afternoon showers rolled in across the region to once more send players and umpires scurrying for shelter.
There were no completed first XI clashes at all in the Globe Sports Bristol & District League.
And secretary Tony Hitch talked of a tone of “despair” as he fielded calls from clubs recounting their latest tales of soggy abandonments with the season edging towards its halfway point on Saturday.
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Hanham’s home Senior Division clash with Dyrham & Hinton was pretty typical with play getting underway on schedule at 2pm.
But the home side, who lost the toss, were forced off at 133-6 in the 34th over when the weather again had the final word.
Hanham captain Duncan Boffin said: “The hard thing is that we’ve never felt that the season has really got going.
“All our friendly games before the start of the league were cancelled, and it’s been so wet that we’ve only been able to have midweek nets three or four times.
“In terms of playing, and being realistic because of where we finished in the table last year, we were expecting to be scrapping around at the bottom again.
“But we got off to a good start, winning our first couple of games, and they were good, competitive matches which have helped keep people interested.
“That’s also proved to be absolutely vital because it’s helped give us a good average. What you don’t want is a bad start and a low average, and being unable to improve it.
“We’re also lucky here that we’ve got a few 40-year-olds who play every Saturday and are used to that philosophy of being available all the time, and some 20-year-olds who are keen to play every week.
“But it has been hard work. We’re forever in hope that the weather will finally improve.”
Sally Donaldson has no hesitation in describing the ongoing wet weather and consequent wholesale postponement of games in the Bristol Youth League as “a complete nightmare.”
A tremendous amount of junior cricket involving just over 200 teams from under-9s through to under-17s is crammed into a relatively short period of time because of pressure to complete the vast majority of games before the start of school holidays.
And the tightest of timetables is under pressure as never before as the rain continues to fall.
Sally, the league’s general secretary, said: “We’ve never had a year like it. I’ve been getting 50 emails a day about rearranging games, and some nights we’ve been up to midnight trying to work things out.
“It’s been a complete nightmare and I’ve been going nearly round the bend ... I’ve got a big pile of paper here and people moaning at me, and there are times when I wonder ‘why am I bothering?’ We’re just hoping now for some decent weather.”
The under-11 cup final has been moved back a week, to July 22 at Frenchay, because of a fixture backlog directly attributable to the weather. And the under-15 cup final has slid back two weeks, to July 29 at Frampton Cotterell.
Although the under-13 and under-17 cup finals, as well as the under-17 plate play-off, will still take place as scheduled, on July 29 also at Frampton Cotterell, games in preceding rounds have had to be rescheduled several times.
The same scenario is also true in the league competitions where the deadline for playing regulation matches has been put back a week to July 20. That, in turn, has led to a redrawing of the dates for knock-out rounds ahead of championship play-offs which are due to be staged at Frenchay on August 12.
Sally added: “Holding the finals in September is not going to work because of football and rugby.”