Today was the first fixture of my truncated cricket league season, at the Spencer Club in Wandsworth. Light rain started about three quarters of the way through the first innings, and I took the players off after 38.3 of the scheduled 40 overs when it got heavier. And just in time too, as the heavens opened moments after the made it to the shelter of the pavilion. There was no sign of conditions improving so it wasn’t long before the captains agreed to abandon the game.
There are several temporary regulations for club cricket introduced for this season to help prevent the spread of The Lurgi, most of which don’t really affect the game as it is played. Off the field, numbers in club houses are restricted, changing rooms are closed (people are expected to turn up in their whites, although in practice people just change at pitchside), and worst of all there’s no cricket tea. On the field, players aren’t allowed to use sweat or saliva to shine the ball (the ECB’s national regulations make that a level one offence, but the league regs remove the penalty), the fielding team is supposed to pass the ball directly back to the bowler once it is dead (in practice it tends to go via one other player, as it is Hard for a wicket-keeper to throw the ball from his gloves), us umpires aren’t allowed to hold items of clothing for bowlers (so I’m allowing them to leave them behind the base of the bowler’s end stumps, with the understanding that if they interfere with play there would be penalty runs), and finally we’re supposed to clean the ball every six overs. I forgot about the last one but talked about it in my club’s Whatsapp group to make sure we don’t forget next time.