The league season is essentially over before it began – but there remains a glimmer of hope for Pembrokeshire cricket clubs desperate for play this summer.

The ECB announcement this week that there would be no professional domestic cricket until August 1st, whilst reinforcing that at grassroots level the game remains suspended until further notice, left many assuming there would be no need to dust off the whites until 2021.

That prospect of course, remains a distinct possibility. The comprehensive protocols being put in place to ensure that the professionals are ready to go in August won’t be possible in Pembrokeshire – and local leagues are likely to lag behind with resumption dates.

Even if we were able to match that date, it would leave five Saturdays in August and if weather permitted, possibly more in September. Playing even half a season in the usual format, let alone a full one, is inconceivable.

Still space for friendly fire?

However Keri Chahal, Cricket Wales Area Manager for the South West region, has told Telegraph Sport he has been working on a Plan B that will hopefully ensure some sort of action for local sides.

He wrote to all clubs in his region on Friday, including those in Pembrokeshire, to say he was working on cluster groupings for teams - based on standards of play and reasonable travel distance.

He is also liaising with junior organiser Martin Jones regarding fixtures for youngsters.

“I’m still trying to see the glass as half full and best case scenario we’ll get August and then go into September. I’d love to picture an Indian summer where we get maybe a seven week window.

“Obviously this depends on guidelines and right now in Wales we are behind England in that respect. But we have to be prepared as best we can.”

The proposal comprises of Chalal working with the Pembroke County Cricket Club (PCCC) to create suitable cluster groups that also incorporate second and third team sides.

“The main concerns I’ve had from clubs is having to travel long distances so we’d need to balance that against making sure teams are playing their suitable standard.”

Ultimately, the final decision will come from the PCCC themselves, as it will with other league authorities, but Chahal said the cluster competitions would not be official.

“We are talking friendly, social cricket with the mindset of people being happy to get back on the field.

“It would be up to the clubs to set up their own fixtures and they’d be free to create unofficial competitions and What’s App groups amongst themselves. If they wanted to alter formats to spice things up that would be up to them.

“This could be a chance to go back to the ethos of grassroots cricket - and remind us all why we first loved the game and started playing it.”

Condensed cup schedules?

Chahal also didn’t rule out the prospect of cup competitions being completed.

“Now that there has been clarification from the ECB, authorities can take time in June to hold discussions and put some things in place.

“In Pembrokeshire the cup competitions are obviously big and maybe there’ll be a chance to hold those games along with cluster matches?

“Again, we are talking best case scenario and there may be some clubs who aren’t in a position to get involved. But it’s important they know there is a back up plan.”

Junior cricket ahead of the game?

Chahal also hinted that cricket at junior level may be better placed to resume promptly.

“We’ve all been second guessing the guidelines if and when cricket comes back.

“But a lot of the assumptions, that players will have to bring their own sandwiches, or turn up already changed, the youngsters do anyway.

“And in some aspects we already practice social distancing with them anyway so it would be easier to control. Less players on a field, instructing them where to stand and so on.”

But through the optimism, there was also a word of caution.

“It is important to reiterate that recreational cricket remains suspended and we can’t control the resumption date at all yet. But I would like to think if it comes we’ll have a few weeks’ notice and are able to prepare.

“But we’ll continue to work in the background with the County Club so that we are ready if a date is set.”

Telegraph Sport comment:

While we await any formal announcements from the PCCC, Chahal’s comments do bring some hope to those in the county longing for some form of cricket before the winter months.

Of course, many will remain sceptical and at this stage, it’s impossible to formulate anything concrete. Ultimately, guidelines will govern if any of his intentions are even possible.

But it is heartening to know that he is being pro-active and there are least back up plans being put in place. Those plans won’t come without their obstacles and complications, but you suspect if we don’t get any action this year, it won’t be for his want of trying.

So for now we sit tight and remain patient. But while there is still a lengthy tunnel to go through before we can even think about setting foot on a cricket field, Chahal’s words have at least offered a small glimpse of light at the end of it.