FRIDAY was all set to be a special one for Toft Cricket Club and the Knutsford community.
But even before the national lockdown was announced by the Government on Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, club chiefs had called a halt to their Cricket Force event.
Many volunteers from the area were due to come together tomorrow to help Toft Cricket Club with some special projects to spruce up Booths Park not only for the season ahead but for years to come.
Path renovation, creating disabled parking, planting trees, building a children’s woodland play area, and refurbishing the cricket nets were all on the agenda under the spotlight of high-profile media attention after being chosen from all the grassroots clubs in the country for special Cricket Force support by the England Cricket Board.
Grateful club chiefs say they had been ‘blown away’ by the offers of help from the community, who now have to unite for altogether different reasons as the country battles against COVID-19.
“I appreciate this is a very challenging time for everyone so please stay safe and when we get through this we will be ready to come and play our part in helping the community get back on its feet,” said chairman Nigel Muirhead in an update on Toft’s planning for the next three to six months.
The pandemic has had a growing impact on sport at local, national and international level over the past few weeks before completely shutting down at the weekend.
In the grand scheme of things, all priority now is focused on lives being saved and the country getting through this unprecedented period in as strong a position it can.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not been tough for clubs like Toft to make some very difficult decisions in the lead up to the lockdown.
The Graeme Swann fundraising dinner planned for last Friday was, along with Cricket Force, ‘postponed/cancelled’.
All cricket clubs were informed by the English Cricket Board in the middle of last week that all forms of recreational cricket at all age groups were being suspended until further notice, clearly pointing to the season’s scheduled start next month being delayed.
The All Stars and Dynamos development programmes may well be delayed although they aren’t due to start until May 15.
Off the field, unsurprisingly Toft have had many clubhouse booking cancellations.
A review of the club’s financial position has been undertaken and contact had been made with suppliers last week to ensure Toft carried little or no commercial risk from events being planned.