CRICKET fields across the district could remain empty until mid-season.

The district’s clubs have been preparing for the 2020 season in the Northumberland and Tyneside League, and the West Tyne League, which both traditionally get under way in April.

But now the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has recommended all forms of recreational cricket be suspended for the time being.

An ECB statement read: “Sport plays an absolutely vital role in the nation’s mental and physical wellbeing, and it helps people find meaning where there is fear and uncertainty, so one of our goals in the coming weeks will be to explore ways that we can support some levels of physical activity in communities - particularly at junior levels.

“Using our cricket community to support others could be one of the most important services we can offer during the difficult next few months.

“It will be critical that any decisions we do make are medically-led. And we will continue to work with government and their advisors.

“Over the coming weeks, we will work with the game to understand what support is required across the cricket community, particularly local clubs and leagues - who will have such a huge role to play in our nation’s response to coming out of this situation.”

The Northumberland and Tyneside League said a mid-season start in July could be an option. Key elements of the game, including promotion, relegation, and cup fixtures, would be open to consultation and discussion.