Tour route leads to village cricket row

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A village cricket club on the route of the first stage of the Grand Départ faces an uphill challenge to fulfil a key league fixture against their local rivals today with the league organisers unwilling to postpone the match despite ten players being ruled out because of Tour de France road closures.

Reeth, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, is in lockdown today with the world’s biggest cycling event set to pass through. It means ten members of the Dales Cricket Club team are unable to travel to the club’s fixture against Barningham which starts at 2pm.

The club wrote to the Darlington and District Cricket League in March to request the match was rescheduled but it was rejected, club secretary and treasurer Pete McKay said.

On the eve of the fixture, Mr McKay said: “The league has told us they don’t want to set a precedent. It’s a surprising and interesting decision.”

Brian Jones, the league’s president, said: “This is an amateur league which organises Saturday fixtures which are published before each season. Dales requested an away fixture for this Saturday and we allowed them to do that but it then became apparent that they would have difficulty fulfilling the fixture. However we have no facility in the league; nothing in our constitution, to require a match to be played on any other day than Saturday.”

To field a full team of 11, the club has sought willing players of any ability to contact them.

“We will consider all standards,” Mr McKay said.

Anyone prepared to step in and play for Dales this afternoon should contact McKay as soon as possible this morning on 01748 884675.