Date: 14th May 2021
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Current thinking from the Chairman as Fixtures are released.

Date: 31st January 2021

Paul Edwards with the story.

The 2021 Love Lane Liverpool Competition fixtures have been released this weekend – but league chairman John Williams admits it is looking “increasingly unlikely” that the competitive season will start on the scheduled date of April 24.

With the UK in lockdown until mid-February at least and a tiered system likely to replace the current arrangements Williams and his colleagues are already making a series of contingency plans based on the length of season that might be possible and the amount of travelling clubs will be permitted to undertake into different areas or, in the case of the three Welsh clubs, into a different country.

But it is important to note that the current 22-match April to September programme has not been ditched. Far from it. Williams and officials in other leagues are still hopeful a full season can be played. However, the Competition’s Restart Group, which organised a successful two-month schedule last summer, will be meeting in early February and clubs may then be presented with a series of options for their approval.

“The prospects have changed since before Christmas,” said Williams. “There is still a great hope that things will improve over the next few months but the prospects for recreational cricket are the same for other sports and, indeed, other industries. We absolutely accept that there are more important things than cricket going on at the moment and we are dependent on the changes that affect the whole country.”

“Tiers could certainly become more important to us because we have clubs playing across five different boroughs, not to mention two countries. Had we been playing a month or so ago we would have had some clubs in tier two, some in tier three and some in tier four. Tiers can have a big impact on the ability of clubs to travel and that would plainly present us with a big problem.”

The options considered by Williams and his colleagues are many and various. They include playing half a season and also an expanded regional system based on last year’s plans. But whatever is decided, Williams is hoping that a league that stretches from Colwyn Bay to Lytham will be able to devise a schedule that is competitive enough to allow for promotion and relegation.

“The Restart Group last year will be meeting again soon,” he said. “It may be possible to rejig the fixtures so that some divisional fixtures can be regionalised early on in the hope that travelling is easier later in the summer. That thinking is quite recent.

“We are looking at ways of putting together a programme of fixtures that takes account of tiers and precautions but will still be a lot more meaningful than last summer. Whatever we produce I hope the clubs will agree that is competitive enough for them.

“We should remember that we devised a new programme quite quickly last year and the clubs did wonderfully well to adapt to it. It should also be restated that no one’s given up on a prompt start but from all the information we’ve received from various bodies it seems unlikely.”

( As first appeared in the Southport Visiter).

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