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National Counties Cricket Association cancel Twenty20 competition for a second year due to Covid-19 restrictions

Suffolk chairman Andrew Squire has expressed his disappointment at the cancellation of this season’s National Counties Cricket Association Twenty20 competition, writes Nick Garnham.

The NCCA has reluctantly decided to cancel the competition, which follows on from no competitive fixtures across any of its three formats last season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

NCCA operations manager Richard Logan said that although organised outdoor sports, including cricket, are due to be allowed from Monday, following discussions with member counties, it was felt additional factors meant that it would not be possible to run the T20 competition.

Suffolk players celebrate a wicket versus Hertfordshire at Ipswich School - the last time they played in the T20 competition in 2019. Picture: Nick Garnham (45546688)
Suffolk players celebrate a wicket versus Hertfordshire at Ipswich School - the last time they played in the T20 competition in 2019. Picture: Nick Garnham (45546688)

“Among the logistical issues, overnight stays, which would be necessary for some fixtures, plus lengthy travelling distances, are not, in the NCCA’s view, ‘essential’ at this moment in time," he said.

“Alternative options, including potentially playing the T20 competition later in the summer, were looked at, but not found to be workable.

“The health, well-being and safety of all players, officials and spectators is of paramount importance to the NCCA, which is why this decision has been taken.

He added that the NCCA remain positive that the 50-over format and the Championship programme will proceed as normal, while continuing to work closely with the ECB to ensure that any government advice is fully adhered to.

Suffolk were scheduled to start their T20 group games against Norfolk at Ipswich School on Sunday, April 18, before facing Hertfordshire at Haileybury School a week later.

Cambridgeshire were due to visit Ipswich School on May 9 with Suffolk’s final group game a fortnight later against Lincolnshire at Grantham CC.

Squire, who took over as chairman in December 2019, said: “It is very disappointing that the NCCA is not able to start playing games under its new guise since replacing the MCCA.

“However, circumstances have dictated we can’t play due to the logistics of travelling, staying in hotels and car sharing.

“Hopefully we can get the 50-over and three-day games under way from the end of May.”

Suffolk are scheduled to play the first of their four NCCA 50-Over Trophy matches against Cambridgeshire at Burwell & Exning CC on Bank Holiday Monday, May 31.

Their three-day NCCA Championship Eastern Division One campaign is due to commence at home to Cambridgeshire on Sunday, July 11 at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds.

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