Derbyshire escape Chesterfield pitch penalty


Derbyshire have staged more than 400 first-class matches at picturesque Queens’s Park, Chesterfield since they played their first game there in 1898

Derbyshire have escaped punishment over the loss of their entire rain-hit four-day County Championship match with Kent at Chesterfield in September.

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) have merely cautioned the county.

But the CDC has advised all first-class counties in future not to use out-grounds before mid-May or in September.

The game was moved to Chesterfield as the County Ground, Derby, had hosted a Boyzone concert the previous Saturday.

But Derbyshire’s temporary move from their Derby home backfired when bad weather left the Queen’s Park outfield waterlogged, eventually leading to a complete abandonment.

In the immediate wake of the washed-out Kent game, Derbyshire had already made the decision to use Chesterfield as an out-ground only in the “core summer months”.

Derbyshire chief executive Simon Storey said: “We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to respond in full to all of the submissions made in regard to the abandonment and the scheduling of concerts.

“It is in the interest of Derbyshire and all first-class counties hosting non-cricket events to learn from this experience moving forward. We have agreed to accept the advice and caution issued by the CDC.”

What the ECB said…

CDC deputy chairman Mike Smith, the former Gloucestershire and England fast bowler, made the following points in his summation:

  • Derbyshire’s decision to host a concert at Derby, three days before the scheduled fixture, was optimistic.
  • Whilst Derby is the primary venue for first-class cricket in Derbyshire and its drainage is superior to Chesterfield, there was no breach of the ECB pitch document in relation to the state of the Chesterfield pitch.
  • There is no evidence that there was a material likelihood 72 hours before the scheduled start that there would be no play across the course of the match.
  • Despite the very professional efforts of the Chesterfield authorities and groundstaff (of whom no criticism at all is made) no play was possible as a result of a wet outfield following heavy downpours on the evening prior to the match and on day three.
  • Although Derbyshire considered their decision to host a concert carefully beforehand and acted on the advice of the promoter, their decision to host the concert in September was taken with insufficient experience as to how long it would take their ground to recover.
  • The decision to host the concert in September directly affected the best chances of staging a four-day match which must be the priority for first-class counties, although the importance for counties of raising revenue through wider non-cricketing opportunities such as the staging of concerts is acknowledged and understood.

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