Umpires in the dark over light

England A 453-4 dec and 173-8 dec; The Rest 350-6 dec and 9-0 Match drawn

One of the perennial criticisms of English cricket is that it is too soft. It is a view that would have been impossible not to uphold yesterday, when a potentially exciting finish to the Tetley Shield was abandoned as a draw. As the Rest set off on their mission to chase the 277 set them by England A, in a minimum of 52 overs, the match was undermined by the umpires' decision to suspend play for over two hours, due to a combination of bad light and a gravity-defying light drizzle that barely reached ground level.

Give him a moment and Dickie Bird will tell you that most of his umpiring career has been blighted by having to make unpopular decisions. On this occasion neither he nor his partner Roy Palmer had received their new light meters from the England Cricket Board. Judging the light was therefore totally subjective, but both felt it had to be offered to the batsmen.

Cricket's susceptibility to changes in the weather is what spectators and marketing men find most frustrating, and probably why, along with its long hours, it will never enjoy the popularity currently enjoyed by football. Proof that the rainfall was insignificant came once the match had been called off and the groundsman immediately rolled out an enormous yellow hose and started to water the square.

In cricket there are simply no guarantees, but when the umpires unnecessarily re-inforce that by being overly pedantic, it does the game's image as a sport for softies no good at all. If this was an end-of-season game between the top two counties, it is doubtful whether a minute's play would have been lost.

Far more gratifying for the few hardy souls who did turn up was the determined way in which Ben Hollioake went about upstaging his elder and more established brother, Adam. Sibling rivalries can be intense, but Hollioake the younger did not let the situation provoke him and his prompt removal of big brother showed a cool-headed talent at work.

For a 19-year-old, Hollioake junior is an exciting prospect. On the evidence of his contributions here - a rapid unbeaten 46 and a deserving 3 for 22 in the second innings - Hollioake senior, for all his impressive leadership and all-round ability on the England A tour in Australia, may struggle to head the inevitable comparisons the new season will undoubtedly bring.

The cricketing genes are strong and the pair's father played Shield cricket for Victoria. Both brothers were born in Melbourne, but, for the record, Adam has always maintained that Ben is the more naturally talented.

Unlike his elder brother, who went to school at St George's Weybridge, Ben was educated at Millfield School, a haven for the sportingly talented.

Although he had a fine tour of Pakistan with the England Under 19 team, this was only his fourth first-class match and there is exciting scope for further improvement. He is right-handed, but if he can make more use of a lazy left arm when he bowls he will gain in both pace and awkwardness.

He dismissed his brother, who gloved a lifter to the keeper, and Mark Ealham, who was caught in the gully driving at an outswinger, and had enough pace to force Anthony McGrath to play back on to his stumps when the batsman was going well.

It is an ability much sought after but rarely possessed by one so young and Surrey will be culpable of bringing the game into disrepute if they leave him in the second team this season.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
arts + entsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker