The Season's Opening Dates & Relevant Matters Regarding Fixtures & League Starting and Closing Dates – An Explanation
Many years ago the CCC devised a system which would allow the use of grounds which were used on a twelve month basis to readily accommodate both summer and winter sports and avoid a conflict of interest. About every six years fixtures need to move forward to reflect that there are 365 days in most years and 366 in a leap year, and these numbers are not divisible by 7. Without some regular changeover system we would eventually be playing club cricket in January and winter sports in July.
In our 1997 Yearbook there was an excellent and informative article written by one of our Life Vice Presidents, Graham Turner, and we repeat the salient points he raised in that article:-
“In the mid sixties the Government of the day moved the then August Bank Holiday from the beginning of the month to the end. The particular significance of that to the Conference was, curiously, that the season's starting date was calculated as fourteen Saturdays prior to August Bank Holiday. A strange formula indeed, but that was how it was. To put things in proper order, the Conference proposed to adopt the last Saturday in April as the new starting date and it was this item which came before Council when I first joined their number, just thirty years ago. The problem was, that the 'new boy' had spotted that if April 30th was the date, the season would end on October 1st, by which moment grounds would be lost to a winter sport. In having the impertinence to open my mouth at my first Council, I found myself trying to put all the wise men right. Half of them didn't understand what it all meant anyhow, and the other half thought I must be talking nonsense! Ten years later we adopted the Rule which applies today; the starting date is April 29th or the Saturday immediately preceding it.”
We must emphasise the dates given are a guide only and we are aware that many clubs play pre season games prior to the season's start date. Indeed our Emergency Fixture Bureau usually opens prior to the 'season start date'.
Some clubs, largely playing on local authority grounds, will find this guide useful as most of these grounds are not available prior to our shown opening dates.
The guide is issued to all member clubs and to all League Secretaries in membership.
Opening Season Dates
We use a formula that the start date is either April 29th or the Saturday immediately preceding it.
The formula was devised to minimise the clash with winter sports.
We must emphasise the dates are given as a guide only.
Our various member Leagues start their fixtures usually in Week 2 or Week 3. This means that most Saturday fixtures are already made for clubs, but there are still two or three weekends early season and post league season when clubs have to make their own Saturday fixtures if they so wish.
As can be seen the Opening Season Dates move forward each year until when April 29th is a Saturday.
Week 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
1 April 28 April 27 April 25 April 24 April 23
2 May 5 May 4 May 2 May 1 April 30
3 May 12 May 11 May 9 May 8 May 7