This year’s Watford Observer Fourteen14 cricket competition has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

First held in 1969, the Shield has become an established part of the area’s summer sporting calendar and was due to be held for a 52nd consecutive year, with the secondary Plate event set to be staged for the 18th time.

Following the ECB’s decision to suspend all forms of recreational cricket and government rules regarding social distancing, this year’s event has been cancelled.

Watford Observer sports editor Anthony Matthews: “I am disappointed it will not be possible to hold this year’s competition, but given entries usually open at this time of year, matches start in May and with the lockdown expected to continue it is the correct decision to take.

“I hope it will be possible for the competition to return for a 53rd time next year and wish to thank all clubs, players, umpires and officials for their continued support.”

The cancellation means Watford Haidery will remain Shield champions for another 12 months, with Leverstock Green the reigning Plate holders.