The Season Ahead

Important information regarding the 2021 Ramblers' season

A key component of our ‘pre-Covid’ Development Strategy had always been to source new opponents and to expand our activities into new geographical areas while also revisiting counties where we have played in the past. We are especially grateful therefore to those clubs in the West of England, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire who have either provided opposition or agreed to host ‘home’ fixtures. We continue to be indebted to our long-standing opponents and host clubs for their ongoing support.

The majority of our programme was organised last autumn as part of our planning for a ‘normal’ 2021 season and at a time when it was neither possible to envisage the nature and extent of Covid-19 related developments nor predict the content and implications inherent in the statement made by the PM on 22nd February. The ‘Roadmap out of lockdown’ described in this statement clearly contains elements of very serious concern for both the cricket community and wider society. These concerns are further magnified when viewed in the context of the unique and specific peculiarities of a wandering club such as ourselves.

As a product of the scale and velocity of the proposed release from lockdown, notwithstanding the recent decline in both infection and death rates and in light of the widely geographically disparate nature of our membership base, we have grave concerns regarding distances of travel, overnight accommodation, transport logistics, the safety of players, match officials and spectators and the potential for pre/post-match transmission. The prospect of cricket being played against a backdrop of stepwise and incremental increases in viral transmissions, the ongoing and commensurate emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants and the large scale abandonment of societal and behavioural restrictions on and after 21st June is extremely disturbing. The additional prospect of the real and serious possibility of cricket related behaviours themselves helping drive transmission rates is clearly one that simply cannot be ignored.

During this current and indeterminate period of uncertainty any potential cricket activity involving our Club will be conducted, as a basic minimum standard, in accordance with all ECB guidelines, policies and protocols. In addition, we will also further apply the dual principles of maximum precaution and minimum risk, integrating into all decision making processes the organisational practicalities specific to the unusual nature of our Club, combined with any appropriate findings from the relevant peer reviewed research literature.

The delivery of our 2021 programme undoubtedly has the potential to cause a disproportionately high number of viral transmissions. It would be irresponsibly and egregiously negligent not to take appropriate and robust action to prevent this possibility. A failure to act would run absolutely counter to everything our Club stands for. Our primary objective will always be to ensure the absolute safety of all match participants and to discharge our responsibilities to the wider community. Each of our fixtures will therefore be subject to a metrics based and rigorously comprehensive Risk Assessment. Outcomes will be circulated an absolute minimum of five weeks in advance of the date of any given fixture.

Despite the potential difficulties that undoubtedly lie ahead we really do hope that during the course of the coming summer our members are able to enjoy spending as much
time as possible with both old friends and new acquaintances at some of the excellent venues that define our fixture programme.

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