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Coronavirus Kent: Kent Cricket cancel warm-up matches and postpone club events

Kent Cricket have moved to cancel and postpone some of their events which had been scheduled to take place this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They have cancelled their warm-up games against Middlesex at Merchant Taylor's School (on 26-27 March) and Hampshire at the Spitfire Ground (on April 7-8).

Kent's The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence
Kent's The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence

They also say, while the cricket season is still scheduled to start in April, this is under review by the England Cricket Board (ECB).

Kent say they have been asked to provide input into an ECB assessment on possible scheduling options for the 2020 season.

Events to be postponed include the sold-out "An evening with Kent legends" on April 23 and a celebration dinner to mark the club's 150th year anniversary in The Long Room at Lord's which was planned for June 17.

In other developments, Kent have:

  • Confirmed the club's coaches and playing squad have safely returned from their pre-season tour in South Africa. While none of the party have been considered to require self-isolation, they are observing appropriate social distancing protocol following government advice.
  • Suspended Academy, county age-group and pathway programmes for at least four weeks until April 19.
  • Suspended all schools coaching programmes for a minimum of four weeks.
  • Stopped access to the club's indoor school facilities at Canterbury and Beckenham for the majority of external groups, including coaching programmes and community clubs, for at least four weeks. But they say they will continue to provide access to indoor school facilities for schools that have specific plans in place to mitigate risks.
  • Started "exploring a number of options for our AGM" which is scheduled for April 6. They say "Our priority is to comply with our legal requirements and the club rules while protecting the welfare of members and staff."

But as things stand, the Westlife concert (July 17), Little Mix concert (July 19) and "An Evening of Elton" (August 8) - all set to take place at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in Canterbury - will go ahead as planned.

Kent chief executive Simon Storey said: "Clearly, the welfare of our staff, players, coaches, pathway and age-group participants, members and visitors remains our top priority.

"This is new territory for all of us and we will continue to be steered by ECB and government advice.

"We are working closely with other counties to share best practise and learnings, and we are also carefully modelling the financial implications to ensure that the club can steer a pathway through these challenging times.

"It's important that we take a balanced approach.

"The decisions taken today to postpone or cancel events and programmes are disappointing, but we believe we have acted in the best interest of everyone associated with Kent Cricket.

"It's clear that the situation is changing fast and we will continue to keep you informed with regular updates.

"I would like to extend my thanks to our staff, players, members, sponsors, stakeholders and supporters for their continued and loyal support.

"These are uncertain times for us all but we can be reassured that we are stronger when we face these challenges together."

The club statement adds many of their office-based staff are working remotely while they maintain a skeleton staff in their offices at Canterbury and Beckenham.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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