The Cricket Discipline Commission has announced that it has cautioned Derbyshire in respect of the abandonment of the Specsavers County Championship match between Derbyshire and Kent at Chesterfield on 19 – 22 September 2017.
Following the match, during which no play was possible, a complaint was made by Kent CCC to the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC). The CDC Deputy Chairman, Mike Smith received and considered submissions from Derbyshire CCC, Kent CCC and ECB.
Under the Summary procedure in Regulations 5 and 6 of the CDC Regulations, Derbyshire have agreed to accept a formal caution for actions which were prejudicial to the interests of cricket, contrary to ECB Directive 3.3, in deciding to hold a concert in September, three days before the scheduled match, leading to the match being moved to Chesterfield.
It was noted by CDC Deputy Chairman that:
- Derbyshire's decision to host a concert at the Derby ground in September, three days before the scheduled fixture, was optimistic and meant that the match had to be moved to Chesterfield after the county found that their ground did not recover as expected following a previous concert in June 2017;
- Whilst Derby is the primary venue for First Class cricket in Derbyshire and its drainage is superior to Chesterfield, there was no breach of the ECB Pitch document in relation to the state of the Chesterfield pitch and there is no evidence that there was a material likelihood 72 hours before the scheduled start that there would be no play across the course of the match;
- Despite the very professional efforts of the Chesterfield authorities and ground-staff (of whom no criticism at all is made) no play was possible as a result of a wet outfield following heavy downpours on the evening prior to the match and on day three of the fixture;
- Although Derbyshire considered their decision to host a concert carefully beforehand and acted on the advice of the promoter, their decision to host the concert in September was taken with insufficient experience as to how long it would take their ground to recover from a concert;
- As such, the decision to host the concert in September directly affected the best chances of staging a four-day match which must be the priority for First Class Counties, although the importance for counties of raising revenue through wider non-cricketing opportunities such as the staging of concerts is acknowledged and understood;
- The complete abandonment of the match caused great frustration and disappointment for players and spectators alike and could have had more serious consequences for both Kent and Derbyshire.
With the experience Derbyshire have gathered, they are advised to make use of it when scheduling events at their ground in future. Going forward, Derbyshire and other First Class Counties have been advised not to consider hosting matches at out-grounds before mid-May or in September.
First Class Counties are strongly advised to note that although no fine or points deduction has been applied in this case, such a sanction cannot be ruled out for any County in respect of any similar circumstances in future.
Derbyshire Chief Executive, Simon Storey commented: “We share the disappointment of Members, spectators and players that due to bad weather before the fixture, we weren’t able to get a game on at Chesterfield.
“We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to respond in full to all of the submissions made in regard to the abandonment and the scheduling of concerts.
“It is in the interest of Derbyshire and all First Class Counties hosting non-cricket events to learn from this experience moving forward and we have agreed to accept the advice and caution issued by the CDC.”