Unlike most sports, Cricket has faced the worst possible timing of the pandemic including the potential easing of restrictions, says Jeff Wilson, founder and managing director of Viking Cricket, in Silsden.

“Yes, it’s true there’s never a good time for a lockdown. Cricket retail ‘peak selling season’ is March, April and May. The UK-wide shutdown wiped out a large part of the season in 2020 and the peak selling period for revenue for cricket brands in 2020,” Mr Wilson explained.

Fast forward to today and the partial re-opening and risk of further delays, means even with a return-to-play planned for the coming months, the industry needs to deliver a ‘normal’ year’s product in half the time.

Viking Cricket is celebrating its 5th anniversary and is predicting a huge bounce in sales, though in a much shorter period of time than most years in which to grow the business and the regions cricketers game.

The pandemic had hit businesses hard, especially those businesses under five years old.

However Mr Wilson said he wasn’t ready to be part of the 95 per cent of business that don’t stay the course and close their doors for good.

“In what has been a tough year we remain positive and if the start of 2021 is anything to go by, we are in for a really busy summer.

“The original lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for the cricket industry as March – June is our core selling months.” he said. “Having to close the business and our shop was very difficult. We did notice a quick upturn in visitors to our shop when restrictions eased which was fantastic to have the support of the cricketing public. However that was short lived with the end of season coming only too quick,” he added.

In a deliberate strategic move before the pandemic hit, he focussed on four things within the business which has led to the company’s strong foundation - high quality products as recognised with several industry awards and a high street presence, allowing cricketers to touch, feel and assess the best fit for them.

He also said building a strong clan of followers via social media, his VikingCricket.co.uk website and sponsorship of a number of professional players across the UK. He included an exclusive full range of equipment for the women cricketers, with active feedback and participation from England’s Jenny Gunn MBE creating a superb Valkyrie range.

Viking Cricket is ready to reopen its doors on April 13 with Mr Wilson aiming to make the visit a pleasant experience for customers with his expert and hands-on approach.