The scheduled T20 interpro between Munster Reds and MTB Northern Knights has been cancelled as a precautionary measure by Cricket Ireland.
It was reported yesterday that a Northants player was self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19.
While Irish international Paul Stirling is not a ‘close contact’ of that player, three of Stirling’s white-ball teammates at Northants are flatmates of the positive player.
All three have been tested, with two coming back negative, but one test result is still unknown.
Stirling had returned to North Down this weekend before the news broke, and played for the Comber side against Instonians and Waringstown on Saturday and Sunday.
Although Stirling himself wasn't in the Knights squad due to make the seven hours bus journey to Cork for tomorrow's game, four players who had played in weekend games with and against him were included in the 13-man squad.
That led Cricket Ireland to adopt a 'safety-first' approach and cancel the match.
The Knights had been due to leave for the game at lunchtime, but delayed their departure in the hope that the result of the third test would come through in time to allow them to commence the journey.
“While highly unfortunate, we have taken a risk management approach to our decision," said Richard Holdsworth.
"There is absolutely no suggestion that Paul has contracted the virus, but until all three tests of his Northants teammates have been returned, we don’t know conclusively whether the chain of transmission has been broken.
“This is a case of a ‘close contact of a possible close contact’, but while Paul is somewhat removed from the player who tested positive, we left the decision on the game as late as possible to see whether Northants had received the test results of Paul’s teammates.
“Paul wasn’t in the squad for tomorrow’s game but had been in contact with some Knights teammates over the weekend. Given the lengthy bus trip the Knights have to take for the match in Cork, they were heading down today and staying overnight in Cork. We delayed the bus departure time as long as we could hoping Northants would get the test result, but it didn’t come in time, so we reluctantly had to cancel the trip as a precaution.”
The T20 series has been dogged by bad weather with the other game scheduled for tomorrow, NW Warriors versus Leinster Lightning being called off due to a wet outfield.
That means that six of the scheduled 12 matches will have been lost. In 2019 only four games of the 12 managed to get a result.
Let us hope that the 50-overs tournament which starts on Thursday has better fortunes.