Wet weather causes a delay to cricketers' 2024 campaign

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Cricketers across the area will have a delayed start to their seasons in 2024.

The Northern Premier Cricket League, Moore and Smalley Palace Shield and Liverpool and District Competition were all due to begin on Saturday, April 20.

However, leagues across the UK have been impacted by the prolonged wet weather which has blighted the early months of the year.

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The NPCL matches due to be played a week on Saturday have now been moved to June 2.

The area's cricketers have a delayed start to their 2024 seasons Picture: Neil CrosThe area's cricketers have a delayed start to their 2024 seasons Picture: Neil Cros
The area's cricketers have a delayed start to their 2024 seasons Picture: Neil Cros
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Confirming the delayed start, a league statement said: “We have listened to clubs over the fitness of grounds and have taken this unprecedented step.

“Whilst moving fixtures to September was considered, other factors including overseas players was (sic) taken into account.”

The Palace Shield games from Premier Division to Division Five have been moved to September 21, with clubs in the top two divisions having been told matches must be played on that date.

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Games in the sixth tier will be slotted in as appropriate later in the year.

A Palace Shield statement added: “For the Sunday competition, many clubs will struggle on the first weekend so the games can be moved to a suitable Sunday later in the season.

“We will leave it to the clubs to sort those out. It may be that some clubs want to move two or three games to later on, which is fine as long as dates are free.

“We would prefer at this stage if clubs used Sundays up to Sun 15th Sep and speak to us if there are any issues.

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“The second weekend is likely to have similar issues with getting grounds ready but we feel that the games on that weekend will have to go ahead as normal.

“If any club has serious issues on that date, we would allow early postponement rather than waiting until the day of the game.

“However, we will give more information on that closer to the time.

“We realise that this will not suit everyone but is a compromise position based on unprecedented rainfall in the past months.”

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The Liverpool Competition posted an update on their website on Wednesday, following a pre-season meeting 24 hours earlier.

That saw an ‘overwhelming majority’ of clubs vote for the weekend of April 27-28 as the new start date.

First and second XI fixtures scheduled for April 20 will be played on May 18, with that day’s cup fixtures to be rearranged by the clubs involved at the earliest possible opportunity.

The third XI fixtures for April 20 are also to be rescheduled for the first available date.

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The league said: “This is the ‘Hybrid’ solution recommended by the management committee, taking account of the size of the Liverpool Competition area and the different reports of ground readiness received.

“It is a play if you can – rearrange if you cannot – solution for all Saturday and Sunday fixtures on 27th and 28th (with juniors and women’s and girls following on), to what has been a difficult time for all clubs. Rearranged fixtures must be played by Sunday 13 July.

“The management committee wishes to thank all clubs and officials for their valued support and patience in reaching a solution which will ensure that all clubs will have the same opportunity to play a full season of cricket.”