COLCHESTER and East Essex Cricket Club stalwart Andrew Kennedy is optimistic that the club will still be able to take to the field, this season.

But he thinks the Castle Park side may have to wait until late summer in order to do so - and only in a friendly format.

Newly-promoted Colchester were due to play their Shepherd Neame Essex League curtain-raiser at Chelmsford tomorrow, having been crowned 2019 division champions.

But all Essex League cricket has been suspended until July at the earliest, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kennedy, who stood down as Colchester's chairman last month after ten years in the post but is still on the club's committee along with that of the Essex League, is hoping that they can play before the end of 2020.

Kennedy said: "We're not going to be playing until the beginning of July and that's probably being optimistic.

"There are some people who feel that it's very unlikely that we'll play at all, this season.

"I'm personally a little more optimistic than that about playing, even if it's in September and perhaps playing friendlies.

"It might even mean that we're only able to train but at least that's better than nothing.

"At least it'll be something for us to look forward to.

"Could we play cricket in October?

"That idea has been floated around if it's possible for grounds to host it, if football is going on at the same time.

"We'd be OK to do that at Castle Park but there are other cricket clubs who double up and share their grounds with football clubs and for them, it could be a problem.

"We're organising some online coaching sessions for players to do, while they're staying at home.

"We're keeping in touch with our members, via a weekly and bi-weekly email.

"We're trying to keep in touch with everyone during this time and interact a little bit more.

"The impact is on the members of the club, as it's how they spend their weekend.

"In that respect, it's had a huge impact."

Colchester and East Essex are missing out financially while there is no cricket.

But they have been boosted after receiving £10,000 from the government's Business Interruption Grant scheme, set up to help groups and businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.

"We're very fortunate," added Kennedy.

"That's covered our fixed costs for the season.

"We've dropped our membership fee from £85 to £20.

"We'll see what percentage of people would be happy to support the club with an ongoing contribution that is suitable for them."