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Another farce Red Force, Hurricanes denied chance for points


Trinidad Express / There was not a drop of rain at the Queen’s Park Oval yesterday, and yet not a ball was bowled. It meant that the Digicel Regional 4-Day match between the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and the Leeward Islands Hurricanes came to the same farcical end as had the West Indies vs India Test match at the same venue back in August, when only 90 minutes were possible and 22 overs bowled.

The match was called off at 1.45 p.m. yesterday by umpires Gregory Brathwaite and Danesh Randhanie because of what they deemed unfit conditions and declared a draw, with both teams getting three points. Additionally, the Red Force earned two batting points for reaching 287 for eight, and the Hurricanes, two bowling points.

But the decision not to play at all yesterday was questioned by at least one member of the Oval’s management. “It’s baffling,” management committee member Jeffrey Guillen said of the decision to abandon the day’s play. “I think the ground is fit to play.”

Just 92 overs were bowled in total, and none at all on the final day of the rain-affected match. There was also no play on the first day.

Following the abandoned Test in August, the International Cricket Council (ICC) had issued an official warning for the ground, while an investigation was conducted by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) in conjunction with the Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) on behalf of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

But yesterday, Guillen said Queen’s Park had done what was required to rectify the drainage issues. “The ground at the moment is 100 per cent fit,” he insisted. “We’ve done everything we’ve been asked to do. We widened the drainage around the ground, we’ve put more sand on the ground, nothing is wrong with the drainage.

“Nothing is wrong with the ground today that cricket could not be played. However, the umpires shared a different view, making four inspections, particularly of an area at the southern end in front of the Brian Lara Pavilion.”

According to the WICB’s rules of the competition pertaining to the suspension of play, it states in part that: “If at any time the umpires together agree that the conditions of ground, weather or light are so bad that there is obvious and foreseeable risk to the safety of any player or umpire, so that it would be unreasonable or dangerous for play to take place, then they shall immediately suspend play, or not allow play to commence or to restart.”

The rulebook also adds however, that “the fact that the grass and the ball are wet and slippery does not warrant the ground conditions being regarded as unreasonable or dangerous.” The loss of so much playing time did not leave Red Force coach Gus Logie a happy man.

He said: It’s really disappointing to see, but I guess the umpires in their own wisdom, the safety of the players is always going to be paramount for them and they took that into consideration.” But he added, “Apart from the disappointment of not having a full game, we have lost a few points we felt were on the table for the taking.”

The Red Force will now aim to make up for lost time and opportunity when they go on the road to face the Jamaica Scorpions in round four, starting next Thursday.

— Garth Wattley


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