High Roding on the road as clubs find out their National Village Cup fate
- Credit: HIGH RODING CC
High Roding will kick off the new cricket season early after the draw was made for the National Village Cup.
Usually held in the committee room at Lords, the remote draw handed the Mid Essex Cricket League Division Two side a trip to Premier Division Stock on April 11.
It is one of eight preliminary round matches in a packed Essex & Norfolk section of the national competition.
Should they win they will be back at Dunmow Road to take on Stradbroke two weeks later.
Last year's final saw Hertfordshire's Redbourn lose by just six runs in a thrilling contest to Colwall of Herefordshire.
In total 347 clubs across the country will compete in the 2021 tournament, the 50th edition of the competition.
It is the highest number of entries for more than a decade and "reflects club cricket’s desire to get back on the field after a disrupted 2020 season" according to organisers.
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Round two is set for May 9, with the first of the national rounds planned for June 20.
The semi-finals will be on August 1 with the Lords final on September 19.
High Roding's league season starts on May 1 when they face Terling at home.
The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) meanwhile have issued some guidance for clubs excited for the return of the game.
Under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, grassroots team sports can return from March 29 and the governing body says any plans club have should ideally wait until then.
They said: "We continue to work closely with DCMS and the government to ensure cricket plays it’s part in ensuring the safe opening up of society.
"As we finalise our guidance, which will be shared with you all shortly, we understand that some of you have asked questions on what activity is permissible at the moment.
"One-to-one coaching sessions will not be allowed as sports venues, including cricket facilities, must remain closed as instructed by the government until at least March 29, subject to review.
"Grounds maintenance should be limited to essential preparation tasks with essential staff only.
"When the rule of six applies, then sub-grouped working parties would be more appropriate."