Cricket: Kent sad at soggy farce

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The Independent Online
Warwickshire bt Kent 5-4 in bowl-out

THE BLAME for Kent's exit from the Benson and Hedges Cup quarter-finals will fall on Nigel Llong, but the responsibility lay elsewhere with their opponents, Warwickshire, and the Test and County Cricket Board regulations, which reduced this tie to a farce.

Llong, an occasional bowler, missed with both his deliveries to give Warwickshire a 5-4 win in the bowl-out, after a wet pitch and surrounds prevented play either Tuesday or yesterday.

Amid mounting tension, all the first nine bowlers scored one hit from two attempts but Llong (who, according to the Kent captain, Mark Benson, had been the best in practice) failed to follow suit.

While not exactly Costa del Brum, there was certainly enough dry weather on Tuesday for some play, but the pitch was wet after Warwickshire left the 'Brumbrella' cover off on Saturday to assist treatment of a fungal infection which was preventing grass growth on the Test wicket.

Kent have formally complained to Lord's about the ground conditions. The possibility of playing elsewhere, only briefly entertained, should have been more fully investigated, but the best alternative would have been to re-arrange the match, as both sides are free next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lord's, however, would not allow that, so it was into the indoor nets - except, that is, for the spectators present, who were excluded.

Even then, there was an element of farce. The nets were also wet after being washed earlier in the day, and were only usable after being dried out by industrial heaters. The real roasting belongs elsewhere.