Objection to early starts on Saturdays
Tuesday 13th July 2021

There has been concern from players about the early starts to matches on Saturdays that was placed upon them when start times were brought forward an hour to 12:00 noon for 1st XIs and 12:45 pm for 2nd and 3rd XIs. The excuse was supposedly so that extra time was needed for various sanitising exercises during the game because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The start of the 'last hour' time was brought forward by 45 minutes.

Players feel the early starts were forced upon them without consultation and certainly any justification and would much rather start at 1:00 pm.

What the L&DCC's Management Committee still doesn't appreciate is that clubs still have people who work on a Saturday morning, yes even in 2021, and whilst they are available for matches starting at 1:00 pm, aren't for matches starting an hour earlier. 

It is well known that it just takes one person on the L&DCC's Management Committee to suggest something, and to protect that person if the idea fails, it suddenly becomes a suggestion by the clubs.

The longest journey in the Liverpool Competition is between Lytham and Colwyn Bay. Fortunately in the league, the clubs 1st and 2nd XIs only have to do it once a season providing they are in the same division.

The fixture involves a round trip of approximately 260 miles meaning that for a 12:00 noon start, the away team's players have to leave home at about 7:30 am, meet at the club for 8:00 am and then set off hoping there's no delay in traffic before arriving at their destination at 11:00 am. All that for 'recreational cricket'. Starting off at 8:30 am is bad enough, but 7:30 am? And to follow the Covid-19 guidelines, it means one person, one car, unless there are members of the team who are family members who live together whereby they can travel together. At worst, it means a convoy of eleven cars following each other.

This is the worst case but there are other fixtures which involve long journeys, eg North Wales to the Southport or Wigan areas.

It is clear that decisions are made by the proverbial 'men in suits in their ivory towers' without any consideration for the players involved.

Since the formation of two divisions in 1999, and ultimately three in 2010, and the extension of playing time, clubs have lost numerous players over the years who aren't prepared to travel long distances and play in long matches.

Maybe players should look at these facts over the winter and see if they want to continue as things are.