Cricket: Rain catches champions napping
Sunday 31 August 1997
Match abandoned as draw
That old Creedence Clearwater song has been haunting Leicestershire all summer long. Recall how it goes? "Long as I remember, rain keeps falling down. Still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?"
After yesterday's controversial abandonment of the last day's play some quarter of an hour before the start, Glamorgan will be asking slightly more pertinent questions, particularly as an area of the square had been left uncovered overnight. So will their members who made the journey down from Wales to support their team's bid to claim the Championship pennant at present fluttering above the Leicestershire pavilion.
Glamorgan, two points ahead going into this game, were 118 runs in front of Leicestershire with seven second-innings wickets in hand. Naturally their captain, Matthew Maynard, found it "very disappointing" that he wouldn't have the two afternoon sessions in which to bowl out the home side. "It is unsatisfactory and we are unhappy," he said. "Leicestershire were obviously banking on decent weather overnight and didn't get it."
Word has it that Glamorgan will make an official complaint to Lord's about the insufficient covering here. It's a fair bet, too, that the umpire's match report, from Dickie Bird and Barry Dudleston, will raise the matter of ground preparation and covering before the final day.
Defending Leicestershire's covering (or uncovering) policy, the club's chief executive, David Collier, said that "all the covering has been exactly according to the regulations. We've had rain over a six and a half hour period overnight, of which there was no hint in the forecast, and what the umpires have said is that the whole of the playing area, not just part of the playing area, is unfit for cricket."
Not unfit for football, though. The Glamorgan and Leicestershire players displayed how fit the outfield was with some classy footwork, while the offending square kept them apart like some medieval bog. But then English cricket has been trying to get out of the Middle Ages for some time now. No wonder the Welsh want devolution.
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