The Sussex Cricket League (SCL) have voted to remove the provision of match teas.
The league, which represents the highest level of recreational cricket in the county, voted in favour of a motion to remove match teas by a margin of 114 votes to 89 (some of which were abstentions).
Home sides will no longer be expected to provide food during the innings break in game, but they will be expected to bring both cold and hot drinks for the players of both teams as well as the match officials. The innings break is set to last 30 minutes.
The announcement on the league’s official Twitter page prompted a mixed bag of responses. Horsted Keynes CC, who play their cricket in Division Seven of the SCL, replied to the announcement: “HKCC are disappointed that cricket teas are being dropped from the @SussexCricketLg.
“We will still be providing teas for our players at home games, and are happy to also provide for any opposition who are happy to reciprocate.”
Another club in the SCL, Forest Row CC, supported the change saying: “Think it will in courage new players. For too long cricket has the stigma of cucumber sandwiches and little bit of cricket. Times have changed not everyone wants teas and lots of clubs don’t have a tea lady or enough volunteers. Sunday cricket can keep the tradition going!”
HKCC are disappointed that cricket teas are being dropped from the @SussexCricketLg.
We will still be providing teas for our players at home games, and are happy to also provide for any opposition who are happy to reciprocate.
In fact, we are working on a new pavlova recipe.
— HKCC – Home of The HK Horsemen T20 team (@horstedkeynescc) November 23, 2020
While the news may come as a surprise to some recreational cricket fans, there has been speculation that leagues may move in this direction since the summer, when temporary Covid-19 preventions strained resources.
Earlier in the year, Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker brought up the possibility of leagues doing away with match teas on the Wisden Club Cricket Podcast in association with Natwest.
“I read an email this morning from one of our writers who’s been talking to various people around his area of south-west London,” said Walker. “He was saying that there seems to be a consensus that the tea, the fabled match tea, might be withering away from the cricketing day because it’s an outlay for the club, it’s an outlay for the tea person, and it’s top of the list of spirit-sapping drain on captains’ energy.
“Ensuring that teas are ready, paid-for, the lot. Anecdotally this is the ongoing bane of a captain’s life.”
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