The shape of things to come?

Yesterday afternoon, at around 4pm, we all learnt that Warwickshire’s appeal against the points deduction imposed because of the state of the pitch during the recent game against Worcestershire had been unsuccessful. This perhaps came as little surprise although was still very disappointing. The Bears must also pay £3,000 towards the costs of the appeal. Once again disapointing but par for the course in such cases. Never mind, we tried our best to tell ourselves, tomorrow is another day, and we have a promising LVCC match to look forward to between ourselves and close rivals Durham. They won the Championship match at their gaff and we had just won the CB40 game at ours. Honours even – and so were the points in the LVCC Div 1 table.

Will Edgbaston give Taunton a run for its money?


And so today began full of hope and expectation. But there was always a niggling worry in the back of my mind. What would the pitch be like? Would it be another lively pitch? Or would the club take the cautious root of producing a feather-bed? Or a happy medium between the two?

Sadly, there was no happy mediun, and after winning the toss and electing to bat Durham finished on 348/3 on a pitch described by BBC local radio as slow and easy. Feather-bed it was to be then. Now I am the first to say that you should wait to see both sides bat / bowl on a pitch before drawing too many conclusions about it (ECB take note), but it looks pretty likely that this fixture is going to end in a bore draw.

This is not what players, fans, clubs or indeed the ECB really want. But it is what they will get from clubs once they have been penalised for producing lively pitches.

These sorts of pitches can produce great limited overs games but are death to the first class game!

It has been one of the high points of the season so far that the fine weather has allowed enough play in most matches to lead to a positive result one way or the other.

If this pitch is the shape of things to come for the rest of the season at Edgbaston it could be draws all round from here on in. No doubt the records will be tumbling and totals soaring in the 40 and 20 over games. But there will be less and less interest in the Championship games.

I hope we get this pitch situation sorted – we don’t want Edgbaston to be the new Sabina Park, but we don’t want it to be the new Taunton either! After all, there must be reasons why Somerset have never won the County Championship, and one of these is too many draws!!!

C’mon you Bears!

Mark

Judgement Day at Lord’s

Later on today (I am writing this at 3:50 AM dont ask!) the Bears will have their appeal against the 8 point penalty for the ‘poor’ pitch against Worcestershire heard by the powers that be at Lord’s.

A lot of supporters clearly feel our appeal is doomed to failure but I am not so sure. The appeal will clearly be based not on the state of the pitch but on the way in which the pitch came to be reported to the inspectors.

Justice for Giles !!!

The guidelines state that umpires can report a pitch that they deem to be below par or, if one of the pitch inspectors is attending a match, they can investigate on their own initiative. Neither of these things happened during our game against Worcestershire – the pitch inspectors felt it neccessary to visit because of a complaint made by a journalist!

I don’t know if the appeal is presented in writing or face to face – probably a bit of both – but if I was heading the WCCC delagation I would imagine the conversation would go something like this:

Me: Can we have our 8 points back please?

ECB: No. Sorry.

Me: Listen, we know the pitch has its problems but it is widely acknowledged that correct procedure wasn’t followed. So, points please!!

ECB: Even if procedures were not followed to the letter we cannot ignore the state of the pitch after it is brought to our attention.

Me: But the pitch against Lancs was worse!

ECB: And?

Me: No one came to inspect that one!

ECB: The umpires never reported it!

Me: The umpires never reported the pitch against Worcestershire!

ECB: Yes but a reporter did so we could not ignore it! Letter of the law ? Perhaps not! But spirit of the law? Yes!

Me: So what you are saying is that it doesn’t matter how a poor pitch comes to your attention. Once you are aware of it – then it needs to be inspected?

ECB: Yes

Me: So had somebody applied for a super-injunction covering press reporting of our game against Lancs?

ECB: Sorry you’ve lost me.

Me: I mean was there not the normal level of press coverage during our game against Lancs as there is for every other game?

ECB: Errrr . . . I would imagine there was.

Me: So every Warks and Lancs fan reading about the game knew the pitch was a bit iffy.  As did all the reporters covering the game. As did any neutral cricket followers who glanced over the scorecard!

ECB: Errr . . . Ummm . . . Probably.

Me: Were the pitch inspectors on holiday that week?

ECB: Come one Mark please get to the point its 4:33 now and Jr has gone back to sleep so go back to bed!

Me: What I mean is the ECB and the pitch inspectors must have known there was a problem with the pitch for the Lancs game but because the umpires never reported it they did nowt! But because a Pears friendly journo complained in the Worcs game the inspectors came down!

ECB: And your point is?

Me: Its completely inconsistent! If the journalist that made the call happened to be ill or on holiday or otherwise engaged that week we would not have been deducted points – but the pitch and the result would still have been the same!

ECB:  Hmmm . . . Interesting point.

Me:  Yes.  So our points are?

ECB: Being added back to you total as we speak!

Jr: zzzzzz

Me: Oo ar top of the league . . .Say oo ar top of the league!

ECB: Don’t let the door hit you on your way out!

Me: Goodnight! If they baby wakes up again its your turn next!

ECB: :-[

Mark

Apologies for any typos as this was produced on my Samsung Galaxy S. Touch screen very tricky at this time of the morn! 4:47 now  – nite!