Rain 19 not out, B&H stumped

The Benson and Hedges Cup, which was revived this season after apparently reaching the fag end of its existence, sank further into the realms of risibility yesterday. Abandonment of all three scheduled group matches in the competition brought to 19 the number in which there have been no result.

The Benson and Hedges Cup, which was revived this season after apparently reaching the fag end of its existence, sank further into the realms of risibility yesterday. Abandonment of all three scheduled group matches in the competition brought to 19 the number in which there have been no result.

Of the 35 ties supposed to have been played by now, only 10 have managed the full distance of 50 overs a side because of the relentless rain which has swept the country since the tournament began eight days ago. The early-season knockout cup, ditched last year, was restored for 2000 at the insistence of the counties despite more neutral voices who saw it as a one-day tournament too far. Perhaps the latter will now claim that this is God's way of suggesting that you should never try to re-light a dog end.

The interruptions have caused understandable frustrations among the affected teams. The Leicester coach, Jack Birkenshaw, said: "It's a good competition but it's become a joke. This is no good for English cricket or for Benson and Hedges. It should be played later in the season."

His sentiments were echoed precisely by the county's captain, Vince Wells, who has now presided over one victory, one defeat and two dreaded no results. "It's too early for it," he said. "It's one of the major competitions and a lot of sides are going to go out through no fault of their own."

This has been the worst-affected summer of the 28 in which all the first-class counties have participated. Last year, under a bizarrely revised structure, only eight competed in a so-called Super Cup based on the previous season's placing in the Championship.

The weather has all but killed off Middlesex's chances of reaching the quarter-finals. If their match at Canterbury tomorrow is cancelled they will have neither bowled nor received a single ball in the competition. There were hopes they could actually go through with the five points such a scenario would bring them - each team is awarded a point in no-result games - but that is now a lost cause.

The southern group has been hardest hit by the rain. Only three matches have been possible. Four have been played in the Midlands, Wales and West group while the North division has escaped relatively lightly. The opening stage of the tournament reaches its climax tomorrow with all the teams due to play.

Leicestershire are at Old Trafford and must win while hoping other results go their way. At least they are still in contention. Nottinghamshire were eliminated after yesterday's abandonment.

Most of the attention was directed at Chris Lewis, who was telling anybody who cared to listen that he would be making his return to the Leicestershire side. Lewis dropped out of a Benson and Hedges tie last week after being grilled at Lord's over his newspaper revelations that he had been told [by a bookie who was trying to involve him in match-fixing] the names of three England players who had allegedly accepted money in the past.

Lewis apart - and Leicestershire continued to hold to the line that it was nothing to do with them and was a matter for the England and Wales Cricket Board- the only point of amusement on another hopelessly grim day also concerned match rigging. In the May edition of The Cricketer, page three is full of the story of the Hansie Cronje scandal.

Directly underneath, in an unfortunate juxtaposition, is a story saying that the magazine, in association with a company called Sports Adviser, is launching an exclusive betting advice service. Sports Adviser, it says, had a profitable winter (in England's Test series). Among other successes, apparently, it sold Cronje's runs spread (he was in the lists to make 230 and scored only 102), "bringing you advice from some of the top experts in the business."

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
Sport
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea