Shropshire’s cricketers will have to wait a little longer to return to competitive action following the cancellation of this season’s National Counties Cricket Association’s Twenty20 competition.
The T20 competition was due to open the 2021 season following the cancellation of all three NCCA formats last season because of Covid-19.
But, following discussions between the NCCA and its 20 member counties, it has now been decided to call off this year’s T20 competition.
Logistical issues, including the potential requirement for overnight stays, led to the decision being taken.
Shropshire had been scheduled to open their T20 campaign with a trip to Staffordshire on Sunday, April 18.
The county would then have hosted Cumbria on April 25, travelled to Northumberland on May 2 before wrapping up their group fixtures at home to Cheshire on May 23.
A statement from the NCCA read: “The National Counties Cricket Association has reluctantly decided to cancel this season’s Twenty20 Cup competition.
“After seeing last year’s entire match programme called off because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was hoped that all three formats could be played this summer.
“Although organised outdoor sports, including cricket, are due to be allowed from 29th March, following discussions with member counties, it was felt additional factors meant that it would not be possible to run the T20 competition.
“Among the logistical issues, overnight stays, which would be necessary for some fixtures, plus lengthy travelling distances, are not, in the NCCA’s view, ‘essential’ at this moment in time.
“Alternative options, including potentially playing the T20 competition later in the summer, were looked at, but not found to be workable.
“The health, well-being and safety of all players, officials and spectators is of paramount importance to the NCCA, which is why this decision has been taken.
“The NCCA remain positive that the 50-over format, due to start in June, and the Championship programme, scheduled to begin in July, will proceed as normal.
“However, we will continue to work closely with the ECB to ensure that any Government advice is fully adhered to.”
Shropshire officials are now looking to try and arrange some 50-over friendlies as an alternative against neighbouring counties.
Shropshire’s competitive fixture list for the 2021 season is scheduled to start with a 50-over match at home to Northumberland at Oswestry in the NCCA Trophy on Sunday, May 30.
The first of Shropshire’s four three-day Championship matches is at home to Herefordshire at Shifnal between July 25-27.
Pictured: Wrekin College hosted Shropshire’s most recent home fixture in the NCCA’s Twenty20 competition, against Herefordshire in May 2019.