Reed on the road as Herts Cricket League clubs find out National Village Cup fate

Reed Cricket Club celebrate reaching the National Village Cup final in 2017

Reed Cricket Club celebrate reaching the National Village Cup final in 2017. - Credit: JOHN HESLAM

Reed's assault on a fourth National Village Cup title will start on the road after the draw for the 2021 competition was made. 

Usually held in the committee room at Lords, the remote draw handed the Blacksmith's Lane-based cricket club a trip to near neighbours Hare Street & Hormead. 

Elsewhere Preston go to Sharnbrook & Bromham while Datchworth too are on the road, Sawbridgeworth their opponents. 

That is one of three all Herts Cricket League clashes to have been picked out for round one, the games all scheduled to take place on April 25. 

Wheathampstead host Tewin while Knebworth Park go to Langleybury. 

Northchurch and Long Marston get byes to the second round of the Beds & Herts section, as do Redbourn. 

They reached the final of last year's competition before losing by just six runs in a thrilling contest to Colwall of Herefordshire.

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In total 347 clubs across the country will compete in the 2021 tournament, the 50th edition of the competition. 

It is the highest number of entries for more than a decade and "reflects club cricket’s desire to get back on the field after a disrupted 2020 season" according to organisers. 

Round two is set for May 9, with the first of the national rounds planned for June 20. 

The semi-finals will be on August 1 with the Lords final on September 19. 

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) meanwhile have issued some guidance for clubs excited for the return of the game. 

Under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, grassroots team sports can return from March 29 and the governing body says any plans club have should ideally wait until then. 

They said: "We continue to work closely with DCMS and the government to ensure cricket plays it’s part in ensuring the safe opening up of society. 

"As we finalise our guidance, which will be shared with you all shortly, we understand that some of you have asked questions on what activity is permissible at the moment. 

"One-to-one coaching sessions will not be allowed as sports venues, including cricket facilities, must remain closed as instructed by the government until at least March 29, subject to review. 

"Grounds maintenance should be limited to essential preparation tasks with essential staff only. 

"When the rule of six applies, then sub-grouped working parties would be more appropriate."