COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club have been playing at Castle Park since 1908.

The beautiful setting has been their home ever since, with the only hiatus being a spell during the First War One.

They even continued playing England’s favourite summer sport during the Second World War.

However, so far in 2020, not a ball has been bowled.

Despite the start-up of some professional sport, Covid-19 regulations have prevented the return of many recreational sports and cricket has been greatly affected.

Colchester was gearing up for some positive news from the Prime Minister but, at the moment, little has changed.

Originally, the social distancing rules were understandingly restricting team sport.

However, since these are being relaxed, it appears the good old cricket ball, now described as a “vector”, is the reason behind the delay.

All this is particularly disappointing for the club, who had regained their Shepherd Neame Essex League premier division status and were looking forward to a promising 2020 campaign.

With an exciting blend of good, young players and some experienced club cricketers, plus the return of Kiwi player/coach Jonny Bassett-Graham, everything was looking exciting in January.

Throughout the years, the Castle Park ground has been the hub of cricket in Colchester – not just for the club but also for the regular Essex County cricket weeks, which finished in 2016.

There have been countless milestones for the county game at the park and the odd years they moved to the Garrison Ground, when the park was unfit.

In addition, the club has been a breeding ground for a number of first-class and international cricketers starting off on their careers.

International players Neil Foster, Derek Pringle, John Stephenson, Ben Foakes, Reece Topley, Tom De Grooth and Tom Blundell have all played at some time before moving on.

Several others moving on to the first-class game also began their pathway at Castle Park.

With a number of outstanding young players, 2020 was likely to be a launchpad for the club.

A programme of club refurbishment is also planned for the coming winter to greatly improve the clubhouse facilities.

At present, limited training has started for senior and junior players and the club is hoping this can soon be expanded into games of some format. Colchester Council, the custodians of the park, have done an excellent job in maintaining the ground so as soon as the all-clear is given, matches could start with two weeks.

Under new chairman David Beales, regular video committee meetings have been held to ensure the club monitors its activities and keeps abreast of the ever changing Covid regulations.

Everyone is hoping for some positive news in the next few weeks.