Village clubs have blasted England and Wales Cricket Board’s ‘counter-intuitive’ calls to stop play for an hour for Prince Philip‘s funeral tomorrow.
Local sides said the move was impractical because Covid rules mean players would be forced to sit in their cars on their own before they can restart.
Some said they will still pause for a minute’s silence at 3pm to remember the Duke of Edinburgh, who died aged 99 last Friday.
But others said they will play through the day in honour of the Prince – who was a huge fan of the sport.
The Duke of Edinburgh heads towards the pavilion after scoring 18 runs in a celebrity match in August 1953 in aid of the National Playing Fields Association
Ian Dawes, 33, 1st team captain for Lilleshall Cricket Club in Shropshire (pictured), told MailOnline: ‘The current Covid regulations make stopping for the hour difficult given we can’t use the pavilion’
ECB confirmed on Friday all nine of the LV=County Championship matches will stop between 2.50pm and 4pm.
The governing body also called for all recreational cricket clubs across England and Wales to stop between 3pm and 4pm as well as hold a minute’s silence at 3pm.
A spokesman said: ‘As a mark of respect, all nine LV= County Championship matches will pause between 2.50pm to 4pm on Saturday April 17, to coincide with the funeral of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.
‘We are also asking all recreational cricket clubs across England and Wales to pause play between 3pm and 4pm next Saturday in order to pay their respects alongside observing the one minute silence at 3pm.’
But local teams blasted the plan because pavilions and changing rooms have been forced to close amid lockdown restrictions.
They said the ‘counter-intuitive’ idea would mean players have to sit in their cars for an hour before play can restart.
Some clubs and leagues say they will play on as there is nowhere for their players to go as clubhouses are shut. Pictured: Leicestershire County Cricket club last week
The ECB’s flag flies at half mast during a County Championship match between Leicestershire and Hampshire last weekend
Ian Dawes, 33, 1st team captain for Lilleshall Cricket Club in Shropshire, told MailOnline: ‘The current Covid regulations make stopping for the hour difficult given we can’t use the pavilion.
‘So it would seem counter intuitive just to stop play then basically just hang around to restart sitting in our cars on our own.
‘But we intend to have the minute silence at 3pm to remember Prince Philip and his love of our fantastic sport.’
Aylsham St Giles Cricket Club in North Norfolk said the ECB’s calls to local sides was ‘out of touch’.
It said: ‘ECB how out of touch with club cricket can you be? Full respect to Prince Philip, we will observe a minute’s silence.
‘What is to be gained by club cricketers sitting outside their closed clubhouses, gazing into the middle distance for an hour?’
Plumpton Cricket Club in West Sussex added: ‘Will they allow clubhouses to open so players aren’t expected to sit outside for an hour?’
Lilleshall Cricket Club in Shropshire (pictured, the clubhouse) said players will stop for a minute’s silence for the Duke
ECB’s Covid guidelines for recreational cricket says: ‘Clubhouses including social and hospitality facilities must remain closed.
‘But toilet and hand washing provision is permitted subject to risk assessment, occupancy limits, suitable ventilation and frequent and effective cleaning.’
Some cricket leagues also ignored the ECB’s instructions, with the Shropshire County Cricket League asking teams to play on after the minute’s silence.
It said: ‘Whilst acknowledging that players and club officials will want to appropriately mark the passing of His Royal Highness at all our Premier Division games with a period of silence at a designated time, the SCCL Executive Officers believe that under current Covid regulations it is impractical for players at the recreational level of the game to be asked to sit around for an hour with no access to clubhouses or changing rooms, unlike those in the professional game.
‘The SCCL Executive Officers therefore ask all our Premier Division clubs to celebrate Prince Philip’s life and his love of our great game, by playing on in his name, and every ground to hold a period of two minutes silence at 3pm on Saturday to remember him.’
The Cumbria Cricket League, which England star Ben Stokes used to play in, added: ‘And what can the players do, can’t sit in a changing room or bar?’
Prince Philip was a keen cricketer, served as MCC chairman twice and was a patron of the Lord’s Taverners charity.
He will be buried in Windsor tomorrow afternoon in a slimmed-down service due to the coronavirus.
From school cricket captain to top polo player: Prince Philip’s lifelong love of sport
The Duke of Edinburgh’s love of cricket started at a young age and he captained the first team of his school, Gordonstoun.
Prince Philip was also patron and twelfth man at the Lord’s Taverners, a charity that serves as a leader in supporting youth cricket.
He also played for the Taverners XI and helped to introduce the Lord’s Taverners ECB Trophy which is presented annually to the cricket county champions.
He continued to be a passionate fan throughout his life, writing to the England World Cup team in 2019 to wish them luck in their final match against New Zealand.
He later described England’s incredible victory as the ‘most dramatic and greatest’ in the sport’s history.
The Prince was also among the top polo players in the country in his youth and continued to play regularly until 1971 and then took up four-in-hand carriage driving, representing Britain at several European and world championships.
The Duke also loved sailing and even famously played squash and went for a swim in the palace pool while he nervously awaited the birth of Prince Charles.