To all Radlett CC members.
I write as your President and Chairman to bring you up to date on what has been happening recently during the Covid-19 lockdown period, and specifically about the situation with regard to Middlesex.
This weekend, as currently still showing on the noticeboard in the pavilion, we would have been hosting two Royal London One day matches for Middlesex, with a similar arrangement for two more matches on the 7th and 9th of August.
Everything changed in March with Covid-19 as follows:
- The 1st class programme was slipped month by month until Radlett was asked by Middlesex in early June if we would allow use of our main ground for “bio-secure bubble training”. In light of our existing contract to provide them with 15 training days and 15 match days every year and as our cricket matches were “suspended until further notice”, we agreed.
- Three weeks ago, Scotland and many leagues around the UK cancelled club cricket following UK Government guidelines that cricket would be unable to return.
- At this time there was constant speculation about what format(s) and when the1st class game would be playing and, for Middlesex, where they could play their home matches, as Lord’s was and still is not available and other grounds are unable to fulfil the COVID 19 commitments.. No dates were known, so I indicated that in the circumstances of our existing Royal London commitments already in place and the likelihood of no club matches, I believed that we could probably be available, as we were already approved as a “bio secure setup”, and I understood their predicament.
- On the 3rd July, the UK government u-turned on their previous statements and gave permission for recreational club cricket to return.
- This week on Tuesday, having had no further confirmation on dates, we received a letter from Middlesex, before the leaked press announcement, asking for our agreement for them to play their two home matches in August at Radlett under Covid-19 conditions.
- On Thursday I met with Angus Fraser highlighting concerns expressed by us and some of you, and the following is from the text of a letter yesterday from the Middlesex Chairman Mike O’Farrell after their Board meeting:
“…you made us aware of the concerns that your members have raised regarding the impact that the staging of both training and the games is having on the ground and access. May I on behalf of Middlesex Cricket thank you for all the work that has gone into making Radlett available for pre-season training in July and also hosting the two red ball games in August.
We, as a County, had no say in the starting dates of these games namely Saturday 8th August and Saturday 22nd August and are not able to change these days as we need a rest day between games and all other venues start their games on Saturdays. It is important to remember that the Governing Body (ECB) have a responsibility for all fixtures and there is little or no opportunity for debate.
As an aside I think it is important also to remember when we were advised by the MCC that playing these fixtures as Lords was ruled out, Stuart and Angus were united in their support that Radlett was their favourite option and the players are happiest at this venue. We do realise the amount of inconvenience that this causes Radlett players and members but, as I am sure you realise, Covid19 has created situations in every walk of life that are almost unparalleled. In the case of cricket for instance, which is seen in a good light by the Government, we have had more than 340 pages of advice and guidelines to follow prior to a ball being bowled in a match. Remember also that recreational cricket was only granted the ‘go ahead’ two weeks ago.
As far as our relationship with you is concerned I want to restate both our commitment and our gratitude and confirm that we have agreed:
a. To continue to pay your assistant groundsman’s wages until the end of August
b. We will pay compensation (to be agreed) for all other loss of income which includes nets and bar income and also the fact that the new venue manager cannot work or put events on at Radlett.
c. As you know we gave a sum of £25,000 to support a difficult financial situation at the end of last year and will continue to be available for support, where possible, in the future.
d. We will work together on the paper that you presented just before lock-down to discuss how the partnership can flourish going forward.
e. You will bring together, at the end of this season, a small group of your members who wish to discuss all aspects of the relationship and how we can work together in an even more effective way. This will be hosted by me with Gus, Richard and Bob present.
Tony, thank you for your forbearance during these really difficult times, cricket will come back stronger and there is no doubt that recreational cricket has got a new lease of life judging by the number of teams local clubs are putting out at the moment! Please feel free to share this note with any one at Radlett Cricket Club that you think appropriate.
Thank you for all you do.
Chairman, Middlesex Cricket”
There are a number of options already under consideration by both parties in the points a. to e. above, not least of which relate to their recognition of the obvious disruption to our junior training programme, including but not exclusively:
- help with providing a ground for our senior and junior teams when Radlett is closed to us and the public
- deals on Radlett and/or Middlesex membership
- training programmes with Middlesex players
- allocation of a Middlesex player to our playing staff
- ticketing and mascot options at Lord’s
- further improvements to our main ground
- extra development of our second ground
We are looking to run an open forum as soon as time and guidelines allow as a club, as well as taking up the offer from Mike O’Farrell in his note.
I am aware that many of you may not know the history of the joint partnership we have enjoyed with Middlesex over the last 15 years, and we need to put that right.