Chesterfield Festival of Cricket is cancelled due to ongoing COVID restrictions

The annual Chesterfield Festival of Cricket has been cancelled due to the Government’s delay in further easing ongoing lockdown restrictions.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 7:10 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 9:57 am
Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher bowls to Falcons' Billy Godleman during the 2019 Chesterfield Festival of Cricket. Picture Tony Johnson.
Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher bowls to Falcons' Billy Godleman during the 2019 Chesterfield Festival of Cricket. Picture Tony Johnson.

The latest government announcement, which was made on Monday 14 June, confirmed that the current Stage 3 protocols for sports venues will remain in place until Monday 19 July.

The LV= County Championship match versus champions Essex (Sun 11 – Wed 14 July) and the Vitality Blast local derby against Yorkshire Vikings (Sun 18 July) will now take place in Derby.

The club and Chesterfield Borough Council had hoped to continue with the festival in its traditional format this summer.

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However, the extension of the current restrictions, the limits on capacities and additional operational costs due to Covid-safe protocols, have had significant commercial and operational implications on the viability of the Festival.

Derbyshire County Cricket Club Chief Executive, Ryan Duckett, said: “The last 18 months have raised unprecedented challenges and forced tough decisions across cricket.

"For Derbyshire, this is arguably one of the toughest to date as the BRM Solicitors Chesterfield Festival of Cricket is one of the highlights of the calendar.

“While we understand the government announcement is for the long-term benefits of the nation, it adds further challenges for the sports, leisure and hospitality sector and I’m bitterly disappointed for our Members, supporters and sponsors.

“I’m grateful to Chesterfield Borough Council and BRM Solicitors for their continued support and we look forward to returning to Queen’s Park next summer, by which time we all hope restrictions have been lifted and we can welcome back sell-outs crowds.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said it was a big disappointment for the town.

She said: “The Chesterfield Festival of Cricket at Queen’s Park is one of the highlights of our annual events programme, and we had been looking forward with great anticipation to welcoming Essex to the Festival for the first time and to Derbyshire Falcons renewing their rivalry with Yorkshire Vikings in the Vitality Blast in front of a capacity crowd.

“It is bitterly disappointing that the Festival cannot go ahead next month.

"However, keeping residents and visitors safe in these uncertain times has to be our number one priority and it is therefore the right decision to move the matches to Derby where players, sponsors and supporters can be better and more safely accommodated.

“The council will very shortly enter into a new agreement with Derbyshire County Cricket Club, which will secure the Chesterfield Festival of Cricket for the town and borough for the next five years.

“We remain hopeful that Derbyshire’s Royal London Cup match against Yorkshire will still be able to take place at Queen’s Park on 8 August.

"It would give everyone a boost to see professional cricket being played again in one of the country’s most picturesque cricket grounds.”