PLAY is set to resume in the Upper Airedale Junior Cricket Association this Sunday (July 19).

There will be, weather permitting, matches at under-nine and under-13 level (10am).

Under-15s will play on Wednesday, with under-11s on Thursday, all at 6.30pm.

All matches will follow government and ECB guidelines regarding Covid-19, which means that bats and balls must be sanitised every four overs, when players must also sanitise.

Changing rooms and pavilions will be off limits and players must turn up already changed, while there will also be no high fives or handshakes by the fielding side at the fall of wickets.

Fielders must observe the one-metre social distancing rule and the ball must be returned directly to the wicket-keeper to minimise player contact.

The UAJCA have planned an eight-week programme of matches, with the opening four fixtures being friendlies against neighbours.

A mixture of Cup and Plate games, as well as friendlies, will make up the second half of the season.

Clubs have worked hard in giving confidence to players and their parents that matches can take place safely, and 47 teams have been entered - eight at under-nine level, 15 at under-11, 14 at under-13 and 10 at under-15.

Sadly, only two teams were confirmed at under-18 level, but that age group will hopefully be resurrected in 2021.

UAJCA secretary Terry Thompson said: “Back in March we were set to operate with 61 teams, so it seems we have lost, hopefully temporarily, around 150 players during the pandemic.

"But we do understand that people are rightly focused on the safety of their children.

"We will need to conduct our recruitment with even more determination in 2021."

He added: "Recent poor weather has hampered ground preparation, but all clubs are working hard to get the cricket on. We are so grateful on behalf of the valley's youngsters."