Essex head coach Paul Grayson was left seething after his side were prevented from making an attempt to reach a target of 74 runs from 10 overs to beat Nottinghamshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 match at Trent Bridge on Sunday July 17.
Rain had interrupted a Notts innings that was eventually curtailed on 127 for 7 from 23 overs and, following Duckworth/Lewis calculations, their opponents were set what Grayson believed was a very achievable target.
However, the visitors were denied the opportunity of victory after the umpires abandoned the match shortly after the Essex innings had been due to start.
Minutes afterwards, Grayson was seen striding out to the middle to remonstrate with the groundstaff. “I was very disappointed and I expressed my opinions to the groundstaff who said that they couldn’t get the covers off in time,” he said. “They told me they didn’t have the manpower to do so in such a short period of time. I said that I had 12 players who would be quite happy and willing to give them a hand, like people do in club cricket.
“I do attach blame to the groundstaff. When they said they didn’t have time to take the covers off, then I think it comes down to them maybe trying to get things happening a bit quicker. Maybe the umpires should have forced the issue a little bit more.
“After I spoke to the groundstaff, I got a call from the umpires Peter Hartley and Richard Illingworth because apparently my chat to them had been seen on Sky Sports and they just wanted to make sure everything was okay. There was no problem.
“I felt that we had a good chance of chasing down those runs and it’s very frustrating after we had bowled very well. Obviously it’s not a great advert for the game and that’s something else I told the groundstaff. There were supporters and members calling out that it was a disgrace that we were not out there playing cricket and I fully agree with them.
“I think that it’s our duty as county cricketers, coaches and players to get out there and entertain the public because that’s what the people came to Trent Bridge to watch. I understand that you can’t start when it’s raining but it was only very light drizzle and we must have bowled the best part of 15 overs when the rain was a lot heavier because the lads wanted to stay out there and play.
“We want to play cricket and that’s what we are here for. It’s no wonder why so many people have turned away from the game. There was an opportunity of seeing a 10-over game and we could and should have been out there playing.”
Grayson is prepared to take the matter further if possible. “I’m going to speak to our chief executive David East to see whether we can write a formal complaint to the relevant people about what has happened,” he added.