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Cricket programme set to carry on

WITH fixtures clashing with England's World Cup quarter final against Portugal on Saturday officials at the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League have come up with a compromise for teams who want to watch the game.

A number of requests came from cricketers torn between loyalty to their team and England's cause in Germany. Some of which suggested taking a break from their league match to watch the football, and resume when it is all over.

The league's website announced this week that: "After a long deliberation we have decided it's not feasible to suspend a cricket match for up to two-and-a-half for the sake of an event on TV.

"This is a cricket league and we are convinced the majority of players will want to play, so the league programme goes ahead as normal."

One concession the league offered was that both teams could cancel the match by Wednesday (yesterday), without being penalised. However, obviously no points would be added to either team.

But Dan Chippeck, captain of Radlett first team, currently top of the Herts County Premier League Division Two East, think few, if any teams will take up the offer.

He said: "There will be no change of plan at Radlett. League cricket is league cricket. It is only a World Cup quarter final match and we have got league cricket to play.

"If people want to go and watch football that's up to them.

"You cannot interrupt cricket for two-and-a-half hours, possibly with extra time and penalties.

"None of my players who would be playing on Saturday will be watching the football and I would certainly be surprised if any of our top four sides in the league drop out because of the match."

The other concession the league offered was that if both sides agree to an early start of around 10am, and with the agreement of both panel umpires in divisions one and two matches can start early, so they are finished at around 4pm, perhaps with a shorter tea interval.

Chippeck does not believe the concession will be necessary. He said: "No one at Radlett has mentioned to me about not wanting to play. It is just one of those things.

He added: "The way England are playing they probably won't get past Portugal anyway."

The league's honourary secretary Richard Bayliss confirmed there had been a few enquiries about changing the fixture from teams in the lower divisions.

He said: "We had about four or five teams asking if we had thought about it, but I do not think it will be an issue."

12:42pm Friday 30th June 2006

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