Recreational cricket is set to resume next weekend after Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to back-track on his earlier claim that issues surrounding communal teas and dressing rooms made the sport unsafe.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Johnson admitted he had 'invoked the third umpire' and now accepted that the sport could now return, subject to a series of as-yet unpublished guidelines.

There has been increasing frustration over the government's stance on the sport, with the England and Wales Cricket Board repeatedly insisting that sport is safe to play.

The governing body's pleas appeared to fall on deaf ears when the Prime Minster, speaking in a Friday interview with LBC Radio, hinted the sport was not safe to return and insisted: "It's the teas, it's the changing rooms."

However, hours later he changed his tune, admitting: "Having been stumped this morning on the science, I have sought scientific advice and medical opinion and the third umpire has been invoked.

"We do want to work as fast as possible to get cricket back and will be publishing guidelines in the next few days so that cricket can to resume in time for next weekend. Cricket can resume next weekend."

The government's persistent refusal to sanction a return of minor cricket had frustrated people in sport, particularly in light of the green-light to other sports such as golf and tennis, and Saturday's scheduled reopening of pubs and more businesses.

Johnson had previously described the cricket ball as a "vector of disease" but said the dangers were more widespread.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, speaking alongside Johnson, said the caution was well-placed but concurred that a careful and socially-distanced return for the sport would now be acceptable.

Whitty said: "One of the issues with cricket is that it brings together a much larger number of people from different households than the six laid out as the maximum number of people who should be meeting outdoors now.

"But it is perfectly possible to have cricket where people do keep their distance and provided people don't do things which are clearly not sensible... it should be possible to make the game itself very safe because it is an outdoor sport at a distance.

"It is a non-contact sport in the way that some other high risk outdoor sports are. There however risks associated which we need to thing about and deal with which are perfectly manageable."

The ECB welcomed the development, saying in a tweet: "We are delighted that the UK Government have given their permission for recreational cricket to return from next weekend.

"We will shortly be publishing our approved guidelines to help clubs and players prepare for cricket's return."

Bradford Premier League chairman David Young is cautious though.

He said: "While this is encouraging news we do need to see the detail of what is being proposed.

"We need to see the type of cricket being envisaged, the health and hygiene regulations that need to be followed and the financial viability of what is on offer.

"Whilst we are keen to facilitate cricket we need to ascertain whether what is on offer constitutes friendly play or the sort of competitive cricket we are all used to.

"Once we are satisfied about that we will consult again with our clubs. We believe we will need two weeks for officials to draft the necessary rules and formulate the competitions that can be played.

"Clubs will also need that time to prepare for the resumption in play and may want to play friendly fixtures.

"Let's wait for the detail before getting too excited about this announcement."