Cricket: Umpire acts over McCague beamer

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The Kent pace bowler, Martin McCague, was removed from the attack by order of the umpire Alan Whitehead in a turbulent start to yesterday's County Championship match at Taunton.

Whitehead stepped in during McCague's third over which began with two bouncers and a chest-high beamer to the Somerset opener, Rob Turner. The umpire called the second and third deliveries no-balls before summoning the Kent captain, Steve Marsh. McCague retired to the outfield with figures of 2.1-0-22-0, including four no-balls, and Mark Ealham completed the over.

Whitehead insisted that he had no option but to order McCague out of the Kent attack for unfair bowling. "I had no choice in the matter," Whitehead said, "even though it was accidental and McCague apologised. He had already received a final warning before a chest-high full toss and I have to do the job."

A shaken McCague would only say: "I'm still getting over it. I hope people saw it as accidental because that was certainly the case."

The Kent coach, John Wright, was also saying little. "The umpire is in control of the game and that's all I am prepared to say," he said.

If it was McCague's intention to intimidate the batsman, it failed. Turner justified his promotion to opener with an innings of 144 as Somerset closed on 366 for 6.

Turner, who went into the match with a first class average of 56, confirmed his growing reputation with a mature innings. The 29-year-old wicket keeper reached his century off 188 balls, with 14 fours, and maintained concentration superbly to bat for six hours nine minutes, adding six more boundaries before losing his wicket to a tired hook shot.

Simon Ecclestone, captaining Somerset in the absence of Peter Bowler (back injury) and Richard Harden (virus), won the toss and took first use of a dry pitch. After 14 had come from McCague's first over, including no-balls, Ben Phillips removed Piran Holloway first ball as he edged to Trevor Ward at second slip. Marcus Trescothick was caught behind without scoring off Matthew Fleming to leave Somerset 76 for 3.

Ecclestone then joined Turner, only to suffer a knee injury which caused him to retire on three. He later returned to reach his maiden championship century off 170 balls with 16 fours and a six, and was 103 not out at the close after sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 171 with the resilent Turner.

Kent, who started the game in second place, also saw their Championship chances dented by two badly dropped catches, which gave lives to Ecclestone on 22 and Turner on 110. The unfortunate McCague and Alan Wells were the culprits at point and slip respectively.

Cricket at boiling point,

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