Our National Committee took the decision to cancel the National Tournaments when the Covid crisis was at its peak. In particular, those players aged over 70 were designated as being in the most vulnerable group (per Government guidelines) so it was only right that health issues took priority.
Over the summer months, the prospects of playing recreational cricket improved with the Government issuing further guidelines that enabled us to plan some fixtures from late July onwards.
Many of our Over 70s cricketers remained cautious about returning to the cricket field, a view mirrored by our neighbouring counties, so no fixtures in that age group were contemplated after the green light was given.
However, the Over 60s circuit was left to organise local competitions and our Over 60s 1st and 2nd XIs entered a local group tournament against Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.
Essex 1st XI and 2nd XI both managed to reach their respective finals. The 2nd XI beat Hertfordshire at Sawbridgeworth CC to lift the trophy.
Unfortunately, the 1st XI final against Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire had to be abandoned at tea as one of the opposition players fell ill and it was agreed that the two counties should share the trophy.
Our Over 60s 3rd and 4th XIs arranged some friendly matches and these have gone well, with fixtures for all our teams stretching into late September to make up for the late start. It was good news for the seam bowlers, with green tops galore, even at this stage of the season!
Essex Seniors have recruited many new players in the last year and we have more competition for places than ever before – a nice problem to have. There are plans in place to start an Over 70s 2nd XI next season (COVID-19 permitting) which, added to our four Over 60s teams, will provide more cricket for our members across the 6 teams.
Finally, we are indebted to a handful of clubs in Essex who have gone out of their way to welcome us and host our games in the current climate, with all the sanitising routines that have been required. Special mention and thanks go to Little Baddow CC, Navestock CC, Kelvedon & Feering CC, Wickford CC, Billericay CC and Abberton CC.