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NCU aiming to stage short T20 campaign when cricket returns this summer

 

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The proposed schedule is for the eight Premier League teams to play each other once, although if clubs want to play more officials will listen to their feedback (stock photo)

The proposed schedule is for the eight Premier League teams to play each other once, although if clubs want to play more officials will listen to their feedback (stock photo)

The proposed schedule is for the eight Premier League teams to play each other once, although if clubs want to play more officials will listen to their feedback (stock photo)

The NCU hope to play a seven-game league season starting on Saturday, July 25, but it will almost certainly be a T20 competition.

The Domestic Directorate met on Thursday night to discuss the possible resumption of cricket and will take their framework to Zoom meetings with the 32 senior clubs next week.

The proposed schedule is for the eight Premier League teams to play each other once, although if clubs want to play more officials will listen to their feedback. It has already been agreed there will be no promotion and relegation from any league this season.

Similar arrangements will be put to the other three senior leagues but the junior leagues, which are likely to suffer more from ground and player availability, are likely to follow the proposed format in the North West with groups of four playing T20 matches on a regionalised basis.

Cup competitions have, for now, been placed on the back burner, but that may change depending on how quickly lockdown restrictions are eased.

For now, the directorate had to consider the potential difficulties over travelling to the matches, the lack of changing facilities and the possibility that clubhouses could remain closed.

A spokesman said: "There is no point being too ambitious at this stage. We are still implementing the Safe Return to Training protocols and we haven't even seen the Return to Play protocols yet. We also seem to be the guinea pigs for team sports returning to action."

Clubs are still awaiting the arrival of sanitary packages and signage but it is hoped that will be delivered by next Saturday.

As of yesterday, 24 of the NCU sides had appointed Covid-19 officers who will be responsible for leading their respective club's compliance with the protocols.

Belfast Telegraph