WITH the relaxation of lockdown club cricket has started to return to Wiltshire.

Among the first clubs to play were Devizes, who held an inter club game at London Road, while in Mildenhall, the Minal sports field was used for a match between two teams drawn from local side the Leg Rovers.

In Devizes, despite the ECB stipulated rules governing spacing on and off the field, hand sanitising every six overs and no tea interval, the players enjoyed a really competitive match that went down to the last over.

The spacious layout meant there was room for socially distanced enjoyment after the match. Devizes welcome new players looking to play cricket at senior and junior level.

At Minal sports field, where the pitch has been in constant care during lockdown, The Leg Rovers, raised two teams from their squad and played two internal short limited overs warm up matches, which saw the Leg Rovers captain Andrew Stibbard taking a hat-trick as well as two other wickets in his first innings.

Chris Hurd, a Minal resident, also scored an outstanding 65 runs in his first innings supported by the indefatigable Ned 'The Mullet' Salvin, who did a lot of running. The teams ended up winning one game each, culminating in a draw, but in the end cricket was the real winner.

Taking advantage of the lovely weather, some of the cricketers' families joined them for distanced picnics and fun for their young children. The ground staff at Minal have been keeping the field in a good level of condition so that as soon as the government gave the go ahead for matches to be played, they only needed to finish off the wicket in the last couple of days and mark it out.

A multi-purpose sports field, mainly used for cricket and more recently girls football, the good conditions meant that over the last few months it has also been used for a diverse range of activities from a kick around of football through kite flying to martial arts and family picnics in beautiful surroundings.

A member of the Minal Sports & Social committee, who administer and maintain the field, said that it has been great to see so many local people using the field; it is there to benefit the people of Minal and is a safe place for people to meet and carry out some of the activities that they have been allowed enjoy during the stages of lockdown, in a safe and well maintained area.

The club play again this afternoon (Saturday), with other sports continuing in the week and evenings.

Although the Gazette's and Times' usual sports section is still suspended, we are still accepting match reports and pictures for publication: please send them to gazette@gazetteandherald.co.uk