While the country comes to terms with the new realities of lockdown, each passing landmark seems to emphasise how far from familiarity we have already travelled. As we arrive at what would have been the first weekend of the new season, cricketers across the country are living a very different life to the one we have always taken for granted; as elsewhere, when events finally run their course and the return to normality begins, feelings of relief are sure to be matched by a renewed appreciation for what we have.
For Uddingston, WDCU champions in 2019, a title defence that was due to start against 2018 winners Ferguslie on May 2nd is on necessary hold. Spirits within the club remain high, though, and, like everyone else, Uddy skipper Bryan Clarke is counting down the days to Scottish cricket’s eventual return to action.
“I just hope the weather’s still like this,” he began. “It’s been the first April I can remember for a long time that’s been absolutely perfect for playing cricket!
“This weekend we were supposed to be playing at home and then we were due to travel to Ayr for another friendly on the Sunday, so thinking naturally turns to that a little bit, to what might have been. But in the grand scheme of things we’re just trying to do what’s best for ourselves and those around us.
“Everybody’s communicating and obviously a lot of the focus has been on how we pay the bills, as it will be with most clubs. We’ve been trying to do as much as we possibly can on the ground, making sure that everything is safe and secure and ticking over. And, yes, just keeping in touch with everyone.
“The senior players are quite a close group and we’re in touch on WhatsApp, keeping everything going day by day. After the initial shock of it all we’ve had people adapting to their own circumstances, be it through work or studying or whatever, and I think people are now feeling that they are able to begin to look forward a little bit more.”
Quite apart from when a return to competition might be, the question of what form it will take also remains to be answered.
“Chatting to a few people there’s maybe a school of thought that suggests a league season wouldn’t be particularly the right thing to do,” said Bryan, “but is there then an opportunity for a sort of expanded Scottish Cup, or the twenty over tournaments that we all play regionally, leading up to a national finals day, maybe?
“But whatever happens, the priority has to be getting as many clubs and grounds utilised, getting some fixtures in, making sure the facilities are being utilised, justifying the subscriptions. Hopefully we’ll get July and August, which would give us a good nine or ten weeks.
“It’s really important that we get some form of junior cricket going again as well,” he went on. “Everybody tries their best in running their junior sections, and getting the kids back on site and engaged would be an achievement too.”
Uddingston’s final day win over Clydesdale may seem like a long time ago, but when the call to don the whites eventually comes, Bryan is confident that his team can pick up from where it left off.
“It does feel as if the momentum has been broken a little bit,” he said, “but we’ll be looking to carry on from where we finished up last time. Although we won the league on the last day of the season we had only lost one game, so we did feel going into those last few weeks that we had an element of control and that it was always in our hands.
“Looking forward, although we were due to have a couple of overseas boys who would have enhanced us further, we haven’t lost any players, so it’s all very positive for us. No-one is going to be going anywhere, I wouldn’t have thought, and we’re in a good place as a club at the moment.
“But when all is said and done, we just want to make sure that all the clubs come out of this and we can all get back to doing what we do best.”