“Yesterday marked the long-awaited start to the men’s domestic season and Kent Cricket’s Chief Executive, Simon Storey, was quick to praise the team effort that has enabled the Club to take its place in this season’s Bob Willis Trophy.
“Watching the men’s domestic cricket season commence yesterday was a welcome sight, and one I know the cricket community in Kent has been looking forward to for many months.
“After a tough start to the game, it was great to see some stand out performances, including Heino Kuhn’s maiden first-class hundred for Kent, which will forever be the first ever century scored in the Bob Willis Trophy.
“We are in a strong position heading into the second day of our opening fixture against Essex, and I hope that you have enjoyed watching the action on the live stream throughout the day, supporting the team from afar.
“I’d also like to extend my best wishes to the Kent Women who have already been in action this week at The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells in the London Championship.
“The 2020 season, will be a season unlike anything we have seen before. The fact that we were able to see competitive domestic cricket played yesterday, is testament to the huge amount of hard work on and off the field during the most challenging of times.
“I would like to thank everyone at the Club for their commitment, resilience and strength as we continue to navigate through these uncertain times.
“Players have had to keep themselves fit through a period of furlough, our COVID officers have been working around the clock to ensure we can comply with medical protocols and our marketing team have been developing the new digital service to ensure we can offer an enhanced streaming, so Members can watch the action live accompanied by ball-by-ball commentary from BBC Radio Kent.
“Alongside the health and well-being of everyone associated with Kent Cricket, our top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been to secure the Club’s future despite the short-term financial challenges.
“Since March we have minimised our expenditure but with the season currently remaining behind-closed doors, the lack of ticket sales, hospitality and food and drink revenues is creating significant financial pressure on the Club.
“We are therefore incredibly grateful to our Members from whom we have had to ask for unprecedented levels of support. The recent decision about membership fees made by the General Committee was incredibly difficult and I know was not taken lightly.
“We trust that our Members will understand that we are doing everything possible to ensure Kent Cricket survives to fight another day and we need to ask everyone to help where possible.
“We have always said that ‘Together, we are Kent’ is more than a set of words. It sums up the culture and values of everyone associated with the Club.
“We hope that being a Member of Kent Cricket is as much about being a part of the Kent Cricket family as it is about enjoying watching cricket together and we will ensure that our 2020 Members’ role in securing the future of the Club is recognised in due course.
“Whilst all the details about 2021 Membership are not yet available; as you can imagine, we have built our financial forecasts conservatively given the uncertain times.
“I can therefore confirm that our 2021 Membership prices will be frozen at 2020 levels.
“We hope the additional discount of 25% for 2020 members renewing in 2021 will be a meaningful way of recognising the loyalty of our Members this year and provide some certainty in uncertain times.
“As the Chairman previously explained, we understand that some of our Members may been seriously affected by the pandemic and we are committed to helping those most affected by changed circumstances. We invite Members in this situation to complete our Membership Refund Request Form before 31 August. Each application will be reviewed by the General Committee.
“What we have learned through this crisis is that we must stay flexible, continue to communicate as much as possible and be relentless in our desire to get the game on.
“We’re obviously disappointed that we are still unable to play matches in front of a crowd but we haven’t given up hope. The announcement by the PM that this weekend’s pilot games with crowds at Kia Oval and Edgbaston have been cancelled, shows how fast and fluid the situation continues to be for all of us.
“Three months ago, we were very concerned that we might not have any season at all; yesterday, we were able to watch a great day of red ball cricket. For the players is has been incredibly difficult not knowing whether we would have a season or not and that makes yesterday’s performance all the more satisfying.
“I would like to thank everyone; our players, coaches and support staff, our off-field team, Members, supporters and our sponsors for their continued commitment and support. Together, we are Kent.”