THE RETURN of competitive cricket to the Tyne Valley has been hailed as a positive move for sport in the district.

The West Tyne Cricket League confirmed its season will start on Saturday, July 18, with matches scheduled until Saturday, September 28.

The decision to restart was confirmed after the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said competitive cricket matches with adjustments to respect hygiene and social distancing would be permitted.

West Tyne League results secretary, Dickie Purvis, is relishing the restart of competitive matches.

“The idea is to try to play half a season of 11 games with the time we have,” he said.

“Some teams have said that they are not going to play in the first division, and others are unable to get squads together to fulfill some fixtures.

“There were some teams that, as we passed the half way stage of the summer, were unsure whether we should carry the on the season.

“But it’s important for the West Tyne League to be able to start again to keep people interested.”

Last season’s Division One champions Haltwhistle Cricket Club began training last week after receiving the ECB confirmation about the restart.

Club secretary Michael Parker said: “We’re probably a bit rusty, but we are looking forward to getting back on the field.

“We hope it is going to be competitive, but the main aim is to keep the season going.

“If we go without a season it can be detrimental for the future.”

Action in the Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League is due to resume on Saturday, July 25.

A proposed new format will see divisions combined and teams will compete in smaller, localised groups before the winners of each group play in a finals day format.

Teams in Division One to Four will play 40 over matches, while teams in Division Five and Six will play 30 overs.

Changes have been made due to some teams not submitting squads for the upcoming season.

The Northumberland and Tyneside Cricket League is due to release further details on the restart on Saturday.