Cricket clubs across south west London are divided over the one-hour break in play to honour the funeral of Prince Philip during matches tomorrow afternoon.
Following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh last Friday, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced that all nine County Championship matches would pause between 2:50-4:10pm this Saturday.
They also asked all recreational cricket clubs to pause play between 3-4pm as well as observing the one-minute silence at 3pm.
However, a few clubs have pushed back against the suggestion, citing Covid-19 restrictions, cold weather, poor light, and in some cases arguing that one hour is “excessive” and counterproductive given the duke’s own love of the game.
The duke was “a lifelong cricket fan and talented all-rounder” according to the ECB.
Barnes Cricket Club has opted for a minute’s silence as players do not have access to facilities, and Covid-19 restrictions currently prevent anyone from congregating inside.
The club secretary Seb Shukla, 29, said: “Hanging around for an hour would not make much sense.
“We want to pay our respects, but we do not have a changing room, or pavilion.
“Nobody is doing it as a middle finger or a sign of disrespect, it is a practicality issue, and I think Prince Philip would probably not have wanted a fuss.”
Osterley Cricket Club has taken a different approach by requesting that the hour is used by over 200 members to discuss their experiences of the Duke of Edinburgh Award over Zoom and WhatsApp.
Club captain Atig Bajwa, 38, said: “This will make it a happier occasion and it is what he would have wanted. He was a great role model and someone who enjoyed the game.”
Thornton Heath Cricket Club will only be training tomorrow and will therefore pause, however, chairman Harshil Trivedi, 30, raised concerns that parents with childcare arrangements would not be able to adjust to the timings.
He said: “If we were playing, we would probably not take the hour break.
“A minute silence is appropriate, and it will honour Prince Philip.”
Mitcham Cricket Club’s first team captain, Abdur Razzaq, 34, suggested they wear black armbands and respect what has been proposed by the ECB.
The number of Indian, Pakistani, Kiwi and South African players at Mitcham influenced this decision given the duke’s connection to the Commonwealth.
However, he sympathised with other teams, saying: “Smaller clubs feel they sacrifice their whole Saturday, and they would rather get on with the game with a minute’s silence.
“Especially given the BBC has received thousands of complaints for their coverage last Friday.”
At the time of publication Mitcham CC are undecided as to if they will pause play for the full hour.
The ECB were approached for comment and declined.
Barnes CC play Richmond CC at Lonsdale Road SW13 tomorrow with the bar open for spectators.
Featured Image: “Village Cricket” by Charles Roffey 2008 licensed under Creative Commons