LOCAL cricket was bowled as 'no ball' by Boris Johnson when he failed to include the sport in his latest easing of lockdown measures.
The Prime Minister refused to relax rules around playing the game despite giving other bat and ball sports such as tennis the go-ahead weeks ago.
It means that thousands of frustrated recreational cricketers across the UK must wait for the green light, while professional footballers, golfers and cyclists now enjoy freedom from the coronavirus curse.
In Prime Minister's Questions Greg Clark, Conservative MP for Tunbridge, asked for clarification on whether "the ban on cricket had come to an end."
In response, Mr Johnson replied: "The problem with cricket as everybody understands [is] that the ball is a natural vector of disease, potentially at any rate. We've been round it many times with our scientific friends.
"At the moment, we're still working on ways to make cricket more Covid-19 secure but we can't change the guidance yet."
There is small consolation for cricketers that net sessions are permitted and small-group training is allowed under strict guidelines.
The North Staffordshire and South Cricket League remains waiting for the go-ahead as their 2020 season approaches would have been the halfway stage next month.
This Saturday would have seen a crowd-puling local derby in the Premier Division between Cheadle and Checkley at the former's Tean Road ground.
The Stone and District League remains hopeful of some action soon, but the South Moorlands Junior League has already abandoned play for another year.
Staffordshire Cricket development director Jason Britton commented: "Clearly, public safety is the primary consideration but there is huge frustration in the current position."
Picture: Frustration for Alex Mellor, seen making a spectacular diving catch for Warwickshire, who is being kept waiting to mark his return to Leek in the NSSCL.