THE 2020 Cornwall Cricket League season will not be played in its standard format, according to the league's chairman.

In a statement published on Saturday evening, chairman Mark Mitchell announced that extending the season until the end of September "almost certainly cannot now be arranged" as many clubs are unable to do so, with some form of one-off competition likely to replace it once a restart date is known.

This weekend would have been the 11th week and halfway point of the 2020 season, which was due to begin on April 18, meaning that 11 further weeks would be needed to play at least a half season with leagues in their current structure.

It was originally hoped that the Government's latest easing of lockdown restrictions for July 4 would permit cricket to be played from then, but that hope took a severe blow when Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the cricket ball as "a vector of disease" following the announcement in the House of Commons last week, with Mitchell calling Mr Johnson's quote "misleading".

Starting the season later than July 4 would require extending the season until the end of September to get the minimum 11 weeks in, and with some clubs unable to use their pitches past the originally scheduled deadline, this means the 2020 season in its standard structure is now highly unlikely to take place.

READ MORE: ECB confident that recreational cricket can return in July

A one-off replacement competition is set to run instead, with the league to look at how many weeks are left of the season once cricket can restart before putting together together provisional plans for some sort of organised competition.

A survey will then be distributed to clubs, asking for a definite commitment to playing in that competition, before the League Management Committee draws up fixtures and rules for the competition.

Mitchell also added that the league will allow a short period for clubs to play friendly matches almost immediately once the England and Wales Cricket Board announces that permission to play has been granted, and that the league will circulate a list of clubs and teams that have indicated that they are ready to play to help teams find opponents.

The League Management Committee will be making decisions over the next few days on the Mining Division Evening League and the various cup competitions.

The CCL statement read in full: "Thank you to the majority of clubs who have now responded to the survey we sent out last week. The results of this are enabling us to make some decisions on what is wanted from us and what is feasible for the rest of summer 2020.

"It is clear from your replies that most of you just want to get some cricket played, even if it is adapted from the norm. You would also like some sort of competition if we are able to organise it.

"However, many clubs are unable to extend the playing season into late September, so that will not be taking place. A formal ‘League season’, in full divisions, almost certainly cannot now be arranged, but we require a little longer to make that decision formally.

"We are sorry that the information coming in from national sources has not moved things on more quickly, but we can only act upon what we are given.

"Contrary to a misleading Government quote a few days ago, the position is still that we are waiting and expecting an imminent announcement on ‘Step 4’ of the return to play. ECB has, to date, been quite forthcoming with the information it has and we have good reason to believe that they are working hard to broker an agreement for club cricket to begin. Some cricket may indeed be played very soon.

"The one update we can bring you is to state that, once the ECB announces that permission to play has been granted and a starting date for this is given, there will be a short period where we allow (and encourage) clubs to arrange whatever ‘friendly’ fixtures they wish to, against local opponents.

"To help you, we will circulate a list of clubs and teams which have indicated that they are ready to play. Those that wish to may, therefore, play cricket almost immediately.

"As soon as cricket has restarted as above, we will look at how many weeks of the season remain and put together provisional plans for some sort of organised competition. "A second survey will be distributed to you, asking for a definite commitment to playing in that competition. Fixtures will then be arranged by the LMC and rules drawn up.

"Thank you for your patience. We hope that you have been successful in keeping your club running in some fashion during this difficult period."

The ECB has reiterated its desire for recreational cricket to return as early as July 4, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing the cricket ball as "a vector of disease" in the House of Commons on Tuesday, when he announced the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.

However, the ECB has had to cancel several regional and national competitions, with the National Counties Championship, the Royal London Club Championship and the men's and women's Vitality T20 Cup and Plate competitions among the events to be cancelled.

READ MORE: National competitions cancelled as ECB prioritises local playing opportunities

In a statement, the ECB said: "The ECB along with the nation’s cricket players are keen to see the imminent and safe return of our sport at recreational level and have been working hard with Government to achieve this.

"We believe that cricket is a non-contact sport, with very low risks of exposure, and that it can be played as safely as many other activities being currently permitted. It is our strong desire to work with Government to see the return of recreational cricket on or around 4 July, as they continue to lift other restrictions more broadly across society.

"As we continue to work towards recreational cricket returning on or around 4 July, though, it has become clear that given the current restrictions we will sadly be unable to run certain elements of the scheduled 2020 cricket season."