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CDC ruling on Somerset v Lancashire pitch

The Cricket Discipline Commission have today announced their ruling on the pitch used for the recent Somerset v Lancashire Specsavers County Championship fixture.

The Cricket Liaison Officer (CLO) for this match rated the pitch ‘Below Average’ as it demonstrated excessive turn. In accordance with regulations, an investigation was carried out by a second CLO with support from the ECB Pitch Consultant.

The investigation considered the views of the original CLO, the match umpires, home and away team Captain and Coach plus the Taunton Head Groundsman. CDC was provided with independent reports by the second CLO and the ECB Pitch Consultant.

The views of the participants, (including the players, the umpires and the CLO) about the performance of the pitch varied. However, CDC considers that the pitch rating given by the original CLO, supported by the second CLO, was correctly rated. It was a Below Average pitch – it had demonstrated excessive turn.

The CDC also considered whether there were any factors relating to the preparation of the pitch that were beyond Somerset CCC’s control and whether they intended to prepare the best quality pitch they could.

All parties agreed that the pitch was under prepared and the Somerset groundsman stated that although he sought, as always, to prepare the best possible pitch, heavy rain cost a day of preparation time.

Some of the factors which might indicate intent in the way the pitch was prepared were absent. This is significant. These would include over-aggressive scarification of the ends to accentuate wear, or use of a sand ameliorant dressing to enhance friction / grip. There was no evidence that this had occurred.

This lack of evidence means that CDC cannot direct ECB to charge Somerset CCC with a breach of regulation.

ECB would simply not be able to make the case that action, or inaction, by Somerset CCC constituted a breach of the regulation requiring them to seek to prepare the best quality pitch.

Therefore, on the facts, no further action will be taken.

Following this statement Somerset CCC CEO, Andrew Cornish said: “Whilst we accept the findings of the CDC into the pitch against Lancashire we feel it is critical to note that there is no evidence to suggest that there was any intention to alter the state of the pitch in any way.

“Head Groundsman Simon Lee and his team do an outstanding job in ensuring that pitches here at the Cooper Associates County Ground are prepared to the highest possible standard and they will always continue to do so.

“Obviously we are pleased that there will be no points deduction but we were confident that this would be the case. We now look forward to our home match against Surrey next week.”

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