OTLEY chairman, Chris Smith is struggling to see how the cricket season will get up and running if the country has to still maintain social distancing.

As things stand, the ECB have told clubs that the sport will not be played until at least June 1.

If play is allowed to start on that date, respective leagues will be able to get half a season of cricket in.

Smith thinks it is unlikely 'proper' cricket will return this year, but he is open to adjusting the sport if it means people can get out playing again.

He said: "The optimism amongst us thinks if there is cricket starting on July 1 then we will get half a season. Whilst everyone is social distancing I don’t see how the season can start.

"I hope I am wrong because no one loves cricket more than myself.

"If you are doing social distancing it is exceptionally difficult to play proper competitive cricket. You would have to spread everyone out and have a hit about.

"It is not like the Premier League when everybody will be checked so how do you do it safely?

"We would accept any type of 'tom noddy' cricket if it got people back out there playing the sport.

"We are waiting on instructions to see if we can have training sessions whilst maintaining social distancing.

"As soon as we get anything positive we will be ready to go."

It was set to be one of Otley's biggest season's in their 200-year history as they were not only celebrating the anniversary, but aiming to win the Airedale & Wharfedale Division One title for the third year on the bounce.

Naturally, Smith is gutted that the club is unable to honour the landmark year and postpone the events that were planned to commemorate it.

He added: "Every man in this country wants to carry on with their normal life, but unfortunately that is not the case.

"It is very disappointing when there is no cricket, especially this year with it being our 200th anniversary.

"We had lots of things planned to celebrate.

"We just missed out on our dinner which was on the Friday when we went into lockdown, hopefully we will have that at some point.

"We have got various cricket festivals arranged for the summer so it is extra disappointing this year.

"We are missing out on junior and senior cricket and there is not a lot we can do about it.

"I did not live through the world wars, but this is one of the most surreal times (during the history of the club) that is for sure. It is very difficult for everyone."

The 63-year-old is keen to maintain the Cross Green pitch to ensure whenever Otley are given the green light to resume the sport they are ready.

Smith said: "We have just got to keep working on the the ground and square to make sure it is cricket ready.

"The biggest work is the people who are keeping the finances going. Crowd funding, subs and sponsorship, whilst we are on lockdown it is still costing us to run the place.

"The facilities are ready and the people who run them are here so we are just waiting on direction from the ECB."