Keswick start without Kumara

Date: Thursday 18th April 2019

KESWICK Cricket Club first team are in action this weekend when they take on Millom in the Premier Division of the Cumbria Cricket League (formerly the North Lancashire and Cumbria League) at what promises to be a sunny Fitz Park and on a pitch that is rock hard thanks to the ongoing dry spell.

The arrival of the club’s professional, Geeth Kumara, has been delayed for two weekends due to an unforeseen extension to the first class season in Sri Lanka. This means he will not be available for the opening two matches (away to Carlisle next Saturday) and the club was endeavouring to secure the services of a substitute professional for both those games.

Club publicity officer Keith Richardson said: “This is not the ideal way to start the season, and with players thin on the ground, KCC undoubtedly faces a tough start to the new campaign. But the team will give of its best in the heady atmosphere of a league where it competes with the first teams of clubs in much larger centres of population, notably Carlisle, Barrow (Furness), Workington and Whitehaven.

“The top flight of the Cumbria Cricket League is a formidable competition and this is reflected in the fact that the league is now seeking ECB Premier League status. However, this is against a UK-wide backdrop of declining interest and commitment (principally due to lifestyle changes) from players.

“Perhaps there is a now a need for leagues to be more flexible in their approach to the sport and the way league and cup matches are structured and the format under which they are played.

“For example, the Eden Valley Cricket League (EVCL), in which Keswick II and III compete, is trialling a new system this season in which cup matches are played in a group stage T20 format on a Saturday. The objective is to play a faster, arguably more exciting and time sensitive version of the game and for all matches to take place on a Saturday, as opposed to a Sunday when families take precedence.”

This season KCC will field three teams at senior level and teams in the Cumbria Junior League at under-11 and under-13 age levels. The club’s 30-strong women’s squad will this season be taking part in competitions as well as again staging a festival at Fitz Park.

One of the attractions at the club this season will be the arrival of a 53-strong touring party of Australian cricketers from the wine-growing Yarra Valley, in Victoria. Over here for the Ashes, they are staying in Keswick for a week and will be welcomed to the town with a reception at the Keswick clubhouse on 1st August, to be followed by a T20 tournament at Fitz Park on 4th August. It will consist of two semi-finals and a final involving a Keswick CC XI, an Eden Valley League representative XI and two teams from the tour party.

In addition, a team of Australian schoolboys will play at Keswick against a Cumbria schools team.