THERE is still hope that recreational cricket could still go ahead on or around July 4, despite Boris Johnson's surprise and unwelcome announcement earlier this week.

The England and Wales Cricket Board had been encouraging clubs to get ready for an early July start, but Johnson stated on Tuesday that recreational cricket was to remain banned indefinitely, as the ball is "a natural vector of disease".

It was a blow to the Bradford Premier League, who last Friday started to consult their sides over a possible resumption of play.

League chairman David Young said: "This is extremely disappointing news after the optimism of recent days, but we must not give up hope of playing.

"We have always acknowledged that the health and safety of the cricket community has to be the number one objective."

Meanwhile, the ECB said: "The ECB, along with the nation's cricket players, are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with government to achieve this.

"We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risk of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as other activities that are currently permitted.

"It is our strong desire to work with government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around July 4, as they continue to lift the restrictions more broadly across society.

"We are heartened that the government has already permitted the return of other ball games, including tennis and basketball, and we are sure that our interpretations of the risks around ball transmission is consistent with those other games.

"We can confirm that any guidance we share with the game will include directions on how to mitigate any risks from handling the ball, as we continue to prioritise the health and safety of the cricket family in our decision making."

While a July 4 return is still a distinct possibility, the ECB have already made the decision to cancel Dynamos cricket for this summer, as well most national and regional competitions, with the priority now moving towards getting as much local cricket played as possible.

That does mean there could be a possibility of squeezing a Bradford League league programme in. Last month, the Bradford League's communications officer Alan Birkinshaw said that was unlikely, but only if recreational cricket didn't get underway until August or September.

Meanwhile, other leagues in the district, such as the Aire-Wharfe League, have already made detailed plans for how their season can resume, as we reported last week.

Local friendly matches will also be encouraged later in the summer, provided restrictions ease.

One thing that definitely will go ahead on July 4 is the opening of clubhouse bars. Regarding that, Bradford League chairman Young said: "This should provide an opportunity for clubs to start generating some revenue after three very tough months."