Cricket: Essex frustrated by day one washout
PUBLISHED: 07:38 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 07:38 30 August 2018
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Concern over a damp spot on the bowler's run-up at the River End caused the abandonment of the first day of Essex's Specsavers County Championship match with Hampshire at Chelmsford.
Umpires Rob Bailey and Michael Burns inspected the pitch and surrounding area four times during the day – either side of lunch, then at 2.30pm and finally 3.30pm – before announcing that no play was possible.
Incessant rain during a grey morning left puddles on the uncovered areas around the square. Once the rain stopped at 11.20am the groundstaff started a mopping-up operation that swiftly removed standing water on the wicket covers and the outfield, with the exception of the area of concern about 15 yards from the popping crease
Though the skies cleared during the afternoon, and the sun made a cameo appearance, it was not enough to allow the Essex and Hampshire players to venture on to the ground, apart from those who wanted to make their own private inspections.
Hampshire captain James Vince, who was named as back-up to Jonny Bairstow for the fourth Test against India, was released by England, and was making his way to Chelmsford from Southampton to take place in the team.
Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: “It’s frustrating. To be honest I didn’t even check the forecast because we trained yesterday and I spoke to Stewie, the groundsman, and he said there’d be a bit of rain overnight and ihen it would be set fair.
“Then you wake up and see the rain from about 6.30 and you think, ‘Oh, it will pass by half-nine to ten’. It did come down, to be fair. It’s frustrating that the sun’s out now and we’re not playing cricket. Again we can’t do much about that. The umpires take everything into consideration, they’ve made that decision and we abide by it. It’s now a three-day game in effect.
“I haven’t looked at it [the affected area].I went out before lunch, but I kind of left it to the experts who know more about these things and then waited for the news. I think from what I can gather the mini-heatwave we had during the summer has left some bare patches and I think that is the problem.
“The umpires were very wary about the bare patches which were very slippery. It was right behind where the keepers stand and the bowlers start their run-ups. Look, that is the decision and both teams are disappointed because we both want points. Hopefully we can force some kind of result in the three days that are left.
“To be honest most games this year have been three days, so there is still a lot of cricket and we can make some time up tomorrow and the day after. It’s just a matter of getting some first-innings runs and putting the pressure on them because with our attack I fancy we can bowl most teams out on any surface.”