YORKSHIRE’S new vice-chairman Neil Hartley is hoping participation levels in recreational cricket will increase post-coronavirus.

Hartley, a former county all-rounder with the White Rose club, was appointed to his new role at Emerald Headingley at the start of this month, working alongside new chairman Roger Hutton.

A John Player League winner with Yorkshire in 1983, Hartley now works full-time in sports insurance, but he is also a committee member at Bradford and Bingley Cricket Club.

Hartley does not hide away from the fact the ongoing crisis will present local league clubs with some significant challenges, including in terms of participation.

However, he is determined to take a glass half full approach for now, especially with aid coming from the England and Wales Cricket Board, who have pledged just over £20m nationwide to help grassroots cricket deal with the financial impact of Covid-19.

“When we do get back out there, it might just show how much people miss it when it’s not been there for three months or whatever period we’re going to be out of action,” said Hartley.

“It might generate some more interest in the game.

“Recreational clubs will definitely be there and desperate to pull some sort of cricket together at both senior and junior level.

He scored 7,526 runs and took 115 wickets playing first-class and one-day cricket for both Yorkshire and South African side Orange Free State between 1978 and 1989.

In terms of the challenges thrown up by the ongoing situation, Hartley says junior cricket has taken a particularly big hit.

“Part of the problem is that the junior structure is generally front loaded in the summer because a lot of junior cricket has to wind up in June and July to take into account family holidays and such,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see how it all pans out with junior cricket when the time comes to get out there again.

“We might be fighting against other sports given there will be a lot of football going on at the same time and such, but it’s just a matter of persevering and making sure the facilities are there to give our junior members the opportunity to play and see cricket as a sport they’d like to be committed to for a long period of their lives.”