Bready and North West Cricket Union's New Zealand dream dashed for now

Bready Cricket Club.Bready Cricket Club.
Bready Cricket Club.
The weekend confirmation that there will be no home fixtures for Ireland's International cricketers in 2020 will have come as a surprise to very few.

The announcement arrived just five weeks before New Zealand were scheduled to take the field at Bready and also includes the mini-series against Pakistan scheduled for July in Dublin.

It is of course a blow for both the North West Union and Bready Cricket Club. For several years now both parties have been battling hard to secure elite International cricket for this region and finally their stage had been set.

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The reality of course is that all sport has rightly taken a back seat while the world fights coronavirus. Bit by bit the we're trying to emerge from the initial impact, however these are very tentative first steps and it wouldn't take much to force a re-think.

International sport takes a lot of organising and there are also signs this week that even the World T20's, set for Australia in October, could be facing the axe as well.

The ICC have remained defiant up to now, however considering the amount of travel involved in the 16-nation tournament and things like accommodation and medical requirements in the absence of a vaccine, they have their work cut out to make it happen in the time remaining.

In terms of local club cricket, efforts are very much ongoing aimed at trying to get some level of sport played before September. It will of course be heavily dependant on meeting fairly rigorous criteria set out by governing bodies.

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Just how many clubs that have the wherewithal or desire to meet them remains to be seen and the local Union is working hard to ensure that clubs are presented with all the data before any decisions are taken.

The Union is also set to make a call next week on what that might look like, including whether or not promotion and relegation will be a factor if the Union is able to facilitate some competitive cricket later this summer.

The truth is most will do well to get a handful of games out of the season although to be fair, the majority have already accepted that anyway.

While clubs are keen to play if it is safe to do so, nearly all of them will have players and members who are vulnerable and will feel that the risk is too high. In some areas of the UK almost half of local clubs have already indicated that they couldn't or wouldn't be willing to play in those circumstances.

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The loss of elite fixtures, where they have the resources and facilities to manage the exceptional demands, is not a great backdrop for the grass roots game.

On the flip side however, clubs and players who are keen to get some kind of action should and will be given every assistance within the regulations.

For now though it's a matter of 'wait and see'. If the various 'Steps' do prove achievable the target date of after 20 July remains a possibility. Only time will tell.