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The weather beat us - Regan

NatWest Series

Stewart Regan

Stewart Regan insists the match would have been called off earlier had Yorkshire not installed a new drainage system

Chief executive Stewart Regan is adamant there was nothing more Yorkshire could have done to prevent England’s NatWest Series clash against West Indies at Headingley Carnegie being washed out.

Yorkshire installed a £600,000 state-of-the-art drainage system over the winter, but it could not cope with heavy rain overnight and this morning.

Although the sun shone for much of the afternoon, parts of the ground were still saturated when umpires Nigel Llong and Steve Davis called the game off shortly after 3pm.

That prompted boos from certain sections of the crowd, who had sat patiently since the scheduled start time of 10.45am.

Regan, though, insists the problem lay in the amount of rain that fell, rather than the drainage system and the laying of a new outfield, which was completed just before the start of the season.

“We’re all disappointed that the match hasn’t been able to take place,” he said. “Nobody likes upsetting spectators.

“But we’ve had some very unusual circumstances: torrential rain on a newly-laid surface.

“We’ve got everything in place that we need to have in place. The weather forecast was for sunshine. Nobody was expecting the downpour we’ve had.

“What we can’t control is the weather, so I don’t think anything can possibly be laid at the door of the club. We’ve done everything we possibly could have done.

"Our groundstaff have done a fabulous job, but this is simply down to the rain - in May."

Headingley

Groundstaff battle in vain against the elements before the opening ODI of the series is abandoned due to an unfit outfield

The laying of the turf would have been completed earlier had poor weather in February not delayed the project, and, though the ground was passed fit for first-class cricket by the ECB in time for the start of the season, Regan admitted the preparation was not ideal.

Yorkshire have been unable to verti-drain the outfield – punching small holes in the ground to help air circulate – as much as they would have liked because the turf had not ‘bedded in’ fully.

Regan, however, claimed the current drainage is a vast improvement on the previous system.

He added: “The groundsman, Andy Fogarty, says we would have called this match off a long time ago had we still had the old drainage system.

“Work started in September, and we moved the last match of last season to Scarborough so we could start early.

“We wanted to lay the turf in early March, but we were interrupted during February because of snow and rain. We lost three or four weeks because of that.

“Every contingency was in place and the turf was laid in time for the season. We were happy with it and the ECB was happy with it.

“The issue here is two torrential downpours meant the water couldn’t drain away quickly enough.”

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