Cricket: Lancs lose 25 points over pitch

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The Independent Online
LANCASHIRE have reacted with dismay to a Test and County Cricket Board decision to dock them 25 points after the pitch on which they completed a 361-run rout of Middlesex on Saturday was deemed unsuitable, writes Jon Culley.

John Bower, the Lancashire chief executive, said last night that although the club accepts the penalty - there is no right of appeal - it 'cannot agree with the verdict'. 'In our view, the pitch was at no stage unsafe and provided a contest fair to both sides,' Bower said.

At the beginning of the match the pitch was both very green and damp. Thirteen wickets fell on the first day, and eight more by lunch on the second. But the balance swung from ball to bat as the pitch dried and Lancashire made 484 for nine declared in their second innings.

Defending the Old Trafford groundsman, Peter Marron, Bower said: 'Peter has been anxious to prepare better cricket wickets at Old Trafford. His approach has been to try to achieve a better balance between bat and ball and inevitably this has led to a degree of experimentation. He accepts that the pitch was damp on the first morning.'

The decision led Marron to resign as Harry Brind's deputy on the TCCB's pitches committee, his position having been made untenable. There is no question mark against his future at Old Trafford, where he has been in charge since 1983. Indeed, Lancashire were quick to defend him yesterday.

'Lancashire's record in wicket preparation has been excellent in recent years,' Bower said. 'Peter Marron's pitches have reached a consistently high standard.' Marron was voted groundsman of the year in 1991 and 1992.

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