Yorkshire v Essex: ‘Freak conditions’ prevent play at Headingley
PUBLISHED: 08:10 16 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 16 April 2018
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The third day of the Specsavers County Championship match between Yorkshire and Essex at Emerald Headingley went the way of the previous two, abandoned without a ball bowled.
Wet patches on the outfield towards the old Football Stand End of the ground left umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth with no option but to call things off after lunch at 1.40pm, with significant doubts obviously surrounding prospects of play on day four as well.
Yorkshire’s groundsman Andy Fogarty has described “The worst pre-season I’ve known in 30-odd years”.
He said: “It’s just freak conditions. This weather seemed to start in January right up until now.
“We’re trying to prepare pitches and the outfield, and you get one good day in between seven or eight days of rain. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s really frustrating for us as well as players and spectators.
“It’s just in certain areas that it’s stopping us.
“It’s not the whole of the bottom end, only certain areas where the players will be running in and fielding. The last thing we want is players getting injured.
“We usually have some warmth at this time of year, but we’ve not been getting that. They’re cold days. There’s just no drying weather.”
Headingley is currently going through some redevelopment, with a new South Stand being built to replace the old Football Stand.
However, Yorkshire say that has had no impact. Fogarty added: “No. We’ve just been unfortunate and hit a bad spell of weather and not escaped it. Everybody is suffering around the country.”
Chief executive Mark Arthur said: “I can reiterate that there have been absolutely no issues with our drainage system.
“The recent bad weather has made for challenging conditions for our ground staff.
“The reason for the delays are that the ground has seen unprecedented wet weather over the past few months. If you couple this with low temperatures on drier days, the ground has had no chance to fully recover.
“Ultimately, the prime concern for the umpires has to be the health and wellbeing of the players.”
Very light rain returned to Headingley almost immediately after the umpires’ decision.
Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate said: “It’s so soft on that side, they are reluctant to do anything to the ground.
“There’s hardly been a drop of rain for the three days and we haven’t looked at getting out there. It is frustrating, but that’s the umpires’ call.
“If we have any more rain, I think that will be it for the game unfortunately.”