The weather gods…

“Somerset stay on course for title with a hand from the weather gods” – this was the headline in The Times on Thursday September 16, as the final day of the County Championship season was poised to start with the West Country on top of the table and seemingly poised to become champions for the first time in their history. But as the notes and statistics below show, the weather throughout the season had not been so kind to the Somerset side.

Somerset had certainly enjoyed far more luck with the weather in their match with Durham at Chester-le-Street compared with Nottinghamshire, who had started the final round of matches on top of the table, but had seen 16.25 hours of play lost on the first three days of their match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

Throughout the season Nottinghamshire had lost just 6.75 hours of play in their previous seven away matches, and their visit to Manchester looked like literally dampening their aspirations of lifting the county title. But on a remarkable final day of the season – as declaration bowling occurred elsewhere – Nottinghamshire opted to go for maximum batting points and then one bowling point in order to finish level with Somerset on top of the table, but becoming champions by virtue of having won seven games compared with Somerset’s six.

Indeed, the weather gods which appeared to be smiling on Somerset at Chester-le-Street had been less kind during the season, with the West Country side losing more time to the weather than Nottinghamshire. Whereas the latter lost 48 hours, split evenly between home and away games, Somerset lost a total of 54.75 hours’ play – 38.50 at home and 16.25 hours when away from home.

Their match with Durham at Taunton in late August saw 17 hours of play being lost, while their game with Kent in mid-July saw the loss of 10 hours’ play and the contest with Essex in late April saw nine hours of play being lost. All three of these rain-affected games ended in draws and had Somerset been able to clinch one more bonus point, or one more victory, the LV=County Championship pennant would be flying proudly next year at their Taunton ground.

The statistics below show that, once again, Lancashire were the “raining” champions, losing a total of 74.50 hours of play during the first-class season. In all, they lost 40.75 hours at their home games – the only side to lose more time at home than Somerset – whilst Essex and Kent in the drier south-east lost just 7.25 and 9.25 hours respectively.

Many might suggest a west-east split in these rainfall statistics, prompting calls for a variant of the Duckworth-Lewis Method (perhaps called McCaskill-Fish) in rewarding county sides for performances in the rain-affected Championship matches. Somerset might well have benefitted from such a system, but on the basis of the statistics below there might not have been such a sharp west-east split in rainfall patterns in 2010, as Somerset’s West Country neighbours Gloucestershire lost just 26 playing hours throughout the season – less than any other county side in the country – with just 10.25 playing hours lost in matches at Bristol, and all of this in their final Championship match of the season against Surrey.

The tables below show the breakdown of time lost in each division of the LV=County Championship in 2010:

County Time lost (in hours)
Durham 60.00
Essex 46.00
Hampshire 45.00
Kent 37.00
Lancashire 74.50
Nottinghamshire 48.00
Somerset 54.75
Warwickshire 39.00
Yorkshire 36.50
County Time lost (in hours)
Derbyshire 45.00
Glamorgan 42.75
Gloucestershire 26.00
Leicestershire 41.75
Middlesex 35.00
Northamptonshire 32.25
Surrey 46.00
Sussex 41.75
Worcestershire 42.00

N.B. Each County Championship match lasts for a maximum of 24 hours, and thus every county could play for a maximum of 384 hours during the season.

About Andrew Hignell

Andrew Hignell was born in Gloucester, but raised and educated in Cardiff. He has supported Glamorgan Cricket since the early 1970s and was appointed the Club’s Statistician in 1982 and since 2004 has been their 1st XI scorer. Andrew has a doctorate in geography and taught for eighteen years before becoming Glamorgan’s scorer. Andrew has written over a dozen books on cricket and he is also the Secretary of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Historians.
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