JUNIOR and recreational cricket leagues are getting finally getting underway now that the green light has been given for cricket in England to return.

Richard Skyrme, Herefordshire Cricket’s club development officer has been busy keeping close contact with all our clubs gaining information on the grounds, finance, coaching and playing.

Funding applications have been a main focus through Herefordshire Council, Sport England and the ECB.

“To date 14 of our clubs have benefited and we hope to add to that as further applications are waiting to be processed,” said Skyrme.

Clubs have, however, missed the three most important months of the season when all their junior coaching takes place including All Stars and Junior League matches.

The Junior League and clubs have met to agree and compile a six-week programme of matches which started on Saturday.

“Obviously, Herefordshire Cricket Ltd, due to the closure of schools, has been unable to deliver the majority of the Chance to Shine Primary Schools programme and also have had to cancel the KWIK Cricket Festivals that were planned,” said HCL’s operations director Steve Watkins.

“We have kept active in the schools by being part of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Active Virtual School Games, setting cricket challenges to the children.

“Chance to Shine has also been producing weekly activity sessions for children to try at home.”

Herefordshire County Juniors played their first match of the season when the under-15s hosted Cardiff and the Vale at Burghill, Tillington and Weobley CC.

Herefordshire got out of the blocks quickly with opener Jack Burton hitting seven fours in his score of 35, supported well by captain Luke Powell.

After a couple of quick wickets Indie Jerram and Seb Scott scored half centuries to get Herefordshire to 220 off their 30 overs.

Cardiff and the Vale made steady progress with several batsmen reaching 30 and beyond.

Herefordshire continued to keep the pressure on and fielded superbly well, taking regular catches and cutting off the boundaries.

An amazing run out by Jack Barrett from the boundary was a turning point however and with tight bowling from Shay Langley and Will Priday at the death meant that Cardiff and the Vale were six runs short.

The Marches League is finalising a regional 40 over competition, set to start this Saturday (August 1).

“The County Age group programme has also been suspended and all the ECB Age group competitions cancelled,” said Watkins. “But we are however recommencing sessions for these players from next week and hoping for a truncated season with fixtures against neighbouring counties for mid August.

“Our planning for the winter coaching is well underway which will this year include an Emerging Player Programme, linked and supported by Worcester County Cricket Club player pathway coaches.

“We now wish for some sunshine and dry weather to make the next 10 weeks a most enjoyable season.”