THE sound of leather on willow returned throughout Tynedale this week as local clubs reopened their outdoor nets facilities under the guidance of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

However, the nets at Allendale remain closed until further notice as the club made the decision that people returning to the ground could spread coronavirus.

The ECB announced that cricket clubs could reinstate their outdoor training facilities if they implemented social distancing measures.

Most of the top teams in the Tyne Valley plying their trade in the Northumberland and Tyneside League (NTSL) - Tynedale, Stocksfield and Corbridge - reopened this week following the suggested guidelines, but fellow NTSL members Allendale said it was not worth the risk.

A statement from the club's management committee said: "We see only marginal benefit in random practice when it is still unlikely that cricket will take place in the near future.

"We do, however, see significant threats from coronavirus to participants in net practice, the ground team who are maintaining the ground and facilities during lockdown and members of the agricultural society who are tending horses and sheep on the site."

ECB guidelines said that people could net either on their own, with an unlimited member of members of their household or with one other person from outside the household while keeping two metres apart at all times.

There should always be a gap of one free net between practice facilities.

Clubhouses can be partially reopened but for essential use only, such as access to toilets and first aid equipment.

At Priors Flat in Hexham, the home of Tynedale, artificial nets were scheduled to open today, with the grass nets set to reopen in a couple of weeks.

The nets opened yesterday at Stocksfield, with interested parties allowed to book one hour sessions only.

The club was operating a booking system online to ensure large groups of people did not turn up at the ground at the same time expecting to get some practise in.

Corbridge similarly contacted all members of the club on Monday informing nets would reopen using a booking system.