COMPETITIVE cricket on the Isle of Wight gets underway this weekend as 13 teams from eight clubs play in two mini-leagues.

The teams will be split into two All Island leagues (A and B), with each team playing each other once in a 40-over format, run under strict Covid-19 playing guidance from the ECB.

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The league will see — for the first time in many years — Southern and Hampshire league sides take on Island teams.

It follows a series of online meetings with clubs as to the way forward for Island cricket after losing half the season to coronavirus.

With players still 'rusty' from the enforced furlough from Britain's favourite summer sport, at least they have had some preparation after two weekends of fixtures since lockdown measures on cricket were relaxed.

The Isle of Wight Cricket Board (IWCB) also aims to host an 'All Stars' game on August 29 for a one-off match.

Once the league ends, new competition, The September Cup, will follow, to extend the Island's cricket season into the autumn.

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The action isn't over at the end of August as the league programme will be followed by a new cup competition, The September Cup, which will give those clubs and players wishing to extended the season past the traditional closing date extra time playing.

Junior cricketers (U11, U13 and U15) get their fixtures underway this week as friendlies until the end of August, or early September, following the scrapping of all leagues.

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IWCB cricket development manager, Stuart Chatfield, said: "The league and cup will give the players what they wanted — competition at the weekends.

"From a recent questionnaire we sent out, more than 75 per cent of those who completed it wanted to see some sort of competition this season.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"It will see many sides take on teams from different leagues, which will make it really exciting.

"But most pleasing is the clubs were keen to enter teams and make the league a success, with them working together sharing grounds and players to get the games on.

"From speaking to numerous cricketers over the past few days, about how much they are looking forward to the league this season, they understand it's a first in more than 25 years — and is unlikely to ever happen again.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"This season has sparked a new interest in local cricket.

"Those who would normally play in mainland sides have also chosen to return to Island clubs.

"It's going to be incredibly hard to predict the league and cup winners.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"Even in these unusual times, we encourage as many as possible to get along to the games and watch some exciting cricket, with bars open and clubs pleased to see you."

                                   FIXTURES — SATURDAY, JULY 25

All-Island Division A: Ryde 1 v Newport (at Harding Shute), Northwood v St Helens (The Park), Shanklin and Godshill 1 v Ventnor 1 (Westhill), Ventnor 2 v Northwood 2 (Steephill); Division B: Ryde Cavaliers v Freshwater (Smallbrook), Arreton v Ryde 2 (Haseley Manor). All games start at 1.30pm. 

  • To view all the season's cricket fixtures, go to:

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