The Tour de France is interfering with that most English of pastimes, village cricket. The race’s presence in Swaledale on Saturday has caused a conundrum for Dales Cricket Club, whose players cannot leave the village of Reeth, where the team is based.
They are scheduled to play a Darlington and District League fixture against Barningham, 13 miles away. But the roads closed last night around the route of Le Tour, which encircles both the village and the cricket ground.
Requests to reschedule the fixture have been turned down by league officials who insist it would create a precedent. “It is a unique situation but out constitution does not allow fixtures to be played on any other day but Saturday,” said Brian Jones, the league’s president. “Our sympathies are with Dales but what if we had a situation where every game was rained off and their match had been rescheduled.”
Dales secretary, Pete McKay is determined to fulfil the fixture and has put out an appeal for players outside the village, whom they hope to register in time.
“As long as they’re warm and breathing, we’ll consider them,” he said. “Any standard will be acceptable. I’m surprised and disappointed it has had to come to this. It’s left us having to concede the game. The league president agrees that we can’t get to the game, yet there’s nothing that can be done about it.”