COMMUNITY sport has been badly affected by the current coronavirus situation but perhaps none more so than cricket.

In any normal year the five local ECB Premier League clubs would be approaching the halfway mark in a summer season.

With time running out, players and officials at Newton, Rainford, Rainhill, St Helens Town and Sutton are chomping at the bit for some action.

Help may be at hand as a Restart Action Plan, put together by captains, umpires and officials of the Liverpool and District Cricket Competition, signposts a possible return to the crease in August.

League secretary Chris Weston explained: “Like all leagues we are strictly following the guidance and advice of the Government, the English Cricket Board (ECB) and in our case, the Lancashire Cricket Foundation.

“There are some difficult issues involved, with the main concern being the health and safety of everyone concerned. The ECB is steadily working through everything and is to introduce necessary adaptions enabling us to organise competitive cricket, but we know it will take time.”

The League, having confirmed months ago that there will be no promotion and relegation in 2020, are establishing mini-leagues of clubs local to each other to play a six-game block of fixtures at 1st and 2nd XI level.

“We want to be prepared for whenever the opportunity arises,” said Weston.

“Each group winner will receive cases of beer from our new league sponsor Love Lane Brewery, based in Liverpool’s Baltic quarter.”

Weston stressed, however: “Nothing is certain, but we are very hopeful.”

Rainhill’s Mike Rotheram, a member of the League Restart Group, said: “It will be great just to get back out there again. The pressure is off with no promotion or relegation and it gives us an opportunity to look at a number of our up and coming youngsters.”

John Dotters, Rainford’s new 1st XI captain, confirmed that his squad cannot wait to start again.

“We are back in the nets every Saturday with socially distanced practice and everyone is really excited at playing some proper cricket, particularly against our local friends and rivals,” he said.