SATURDAY is supposed to signal the start of the North Wales League season - one of the first signs of summer.

Premier Division Champions Bangor were due to start at home to Pwllheli while there was an intriguing derby date at Llay where Gresford were supposed to be the visitors.

But like all sports, cricketers throughout England and Wales and across the world will have to hang on to dust off their whites.

Lockdown has been a frustrating one across the Welsh border at Chester Boughton Hall.

The 2019 Cheshire Premier League champions were shaping up nicely at net practice before pre-season plans came to a dramatic halt.

Skipper Rick Moore explained: “It’s so frustrating after all the hard work. We enjoyed last year and have been focusing on our youngsters, planning ahead for the new season.

“The squad was bonding nicely and there’s nothing quite like getting together for a new season. We were hugely looking forward to defending our County League and Liverpool Echo success and trying to push that step further in the Cheshire Cup and Cheshire T20. With the nucleus of the squad similar to last season, we’ve a great mix of youth and senior players.

“Last season saw newcomer George McCormick shine with the ball in his first season, Charlie Fleet improved no end and Noah Vickery began to show huge potential with the bat. The future looks bright and there would have been good competition for places.

“Alex Money will be looking to build on a strong season last year which culminated in a well-earned county debut and saw him receive our club player of the year award. Tommy Wyatt, after a winter of training with the MCC Universities scheme in Leeds will be hungry for more opportunities and Harry Killoran will have benefitted from a winter in Australia. Jack Williams will also have been lined up for another strong year as one of the league’s most consistent performers.”

Dan Riley was again set to lead the 2nd XI after claiming the title last year, Tom Evans takes over the 3rd XI from Dave Fisher and Ian Thistlewood again captains the fourths. Dave Atkin is at the helm of the Over 40s, Nicole Fisher leads the ladies and a growing junior section sits raring to go.

In line with ECB guidelines, the Cheshire County League continue to monitor the wider cricket picture with the league season due to have started last Saturday. The Cheshire Cup has already been suspended and there is much speculation as to what, if any, form a potential league season could take in the coming months.

Club president Jim Law said: “It’s a tough time for us and all clubs at the moment. We still have bills to pay but our income opportunities are limited to say the least. We’re obviously reliant on sponsorship, membership fees and bar income but of course it’s all dried up.

“We had a real exciting social season lined up too and are desperately hoping to rearrange a number of key events for later in the year. We were - and maybe still are - looking forward to welcoming Lancashire Seconds back this season and we’ve a big showcase game, Cheshire v Warwickshire due on 17 July.

“But for now, it’s wait and see. We’ve plenty going on through our website with everybody keen to keep our cricket community together, including tips on keeping in trim at home and a weekly lockdown quiz on Saturdays at 5pm. So our spirits are high and as cricketers, we always remain optimistic!”

The start of the 2020 cricket season in England has been pushed back until July 1 at the earliest, with the Test series against the West Indies officially postponed.

The England and Wales Cricket Board initially delayed the campaign until May 28, but the continued effect of the coronavirus pandemic ensured further action was necessary at a board meeting held via teleconference on Thursday.

A decision was made to extend the hiatus by over a month, with senior international fixtures now affected and the number of lost County Championship rounds going from seven to nine.

The inaugural edition of The Hundred was discussed and, while it now seems virtually impossible that it will go ahead this summer, the matter will be debated in greater depth in a dedicated session of the board on Wednesday.

Joe Root was due to lead a three-match Test series against the Windies starting at the Kia Oval on June 4, followed closely by games at Edgbaston and Lord's, but the prospect of proceeding on schedule has long appeared impossible given the current state of lockdown.

England Women, led by Heather Knight, have also been impacted. They were due to contest two Twenty20s against India at the end of June, followed by four one-day internationals, but that series has also been deferred.