Fans given time to return home for football

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The Independent Online

Common sense prevailed at Old Trafford when the umpires abandoned the first match of the NatWest Series between England and New Zealand at 6.0pm. However, officials could have kept the drenched spectators at the ground for another hour in the hope that the weather would break and a 20-overs-a-side could be organised.

Common sense prevailed at Old Trafford when the umpires abandoned the first match of the NatWest Series between England and New Zealand at 6.0pm. However, officials could have kept the drenched spectators at the ground for another hour in the hope that the weather would break and a 20-overs-a-side could be organised.

For this to happen the ground needed to be fit by 7.47pm, two minutes into England's Euro 2004 quarter-final match against Portugal. But this early decision gave those hardy spectators the chance to watch the football at home.

The decision did not affect the England and Wales Cricket Board, who are insured to refund the 18,000 ticket-holders to the tune of £500,000.

Marcus Trescothick will benefit from the extra time he has to recover from a sprained left ankle. Playing England's likeliest match-winner here would have been a risk but he should face the West Indies on Sunday.

Before then Brian Lara's side will play New Zealand at Edgbaston on Saturday.

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