After such a long period of lockdown, the start of the 2021 cricket season is being greeted with more than the usual excitement and anticipation at Richmondshire Cricket Club.
Having achieved the NYSD Premiership and Kerridge Cup double for the first time in their history in last year’s restricted season, the club are keen to repeat this in a full season.
The North Yorkshire South Durham League have again shown great organisation in setting up a series of contingencies for the season, allowing for possible changes in the Covid Roadmap along the way.
As things stand the season’s fixtures will start on Saturday, April 17 in both the NYSD and Darlington and District leagues.
The junior fixtures in the North Yorkshire Alliance and the Hambleton Leagues will have a phased start from the April 20 with all teams in action by mid-May.
While the ground and clubhouse have been closed over the winter the club hasn’t been idle.
A brand-new large groundsman’s shed has been constructed on the main ground thanks to a generous donation from a major supporter of the club and the club’s 150 club funds.
The eastern edge of the ground is undergoing landscaping work, thanks to an Richmondshire Area Partnership grant.
Chairman Mark Layfield said: “The biggest positive for me is that despite the closures and cancellation of events we are coming out of winter with the club in a positive financial position.
“This is thanks to various Government, ECB & Sport England grants, the furlough scheme, our strong sponsorship support which is appreciated so much and with so many of our members renewing their memberships.”
The 2021 season also sees some new faces at the club with a new catering team coming into the club.
Dean and Victoria who have built up an excellent reputation for their food at the White Swan at Gilling West have formed ‘Hoodoo’ as their new brand based at the club.
They hope to be providing food at the club from the April 16 and 17 when the new outlet opens for business. We wish Hoodoo a long and successful partnership with RCC.
On the playing front the club welcomes back some familiar faces for the 2021 season.
Brad Ellsworth will be captaining the second team and with Shaun Charlton and Owen Kelly also returning there will be keen competition for places.
The addition of players with more NYSD experience helping the development of the club’s juniors, who had to carry a very heavy load last season.
Rob Carr continues as captain of the firsts after last year’s successful season supported by professional Gary Pratt.
For the first time for several seasons, the club will have an overseas professional, having signed Ajay Mandal who has an impressive record in Indian first-class cricket.
Ajay’s arrival was expected to be delayed with usual visa and travel problems being compounded by the Covid pandemic.
He is now hoped to arrive this weekend but his availability to play will depend on Covid tests and a period of isolation.
The third team will again be captained by Dave Moffat and with the many youngsters in the side having gained another years’ experience will be hoping to get back to their league leading performances.
The fourths, again under the captaincy of Michael Platt, will hope to build on their excellent first season in the NYSD Division 4.
John Bewell continues as captain of the fifths, where he will have the support of vice-captain Mike White.
As the club’s junior chairman, Mike will be hoping to oversee the development of the club’s many junior prospects.
A newly released statement from the English Cricket Board makes it clear that under the government’s Covid regulations the only spectators allowed at games are those using the hospitality facilities.
Therefore casual spectators will not be allowed, although parents of juniors taking part in nets, training and games are allowed for safeguarding reasons.