Poor weather brings an end to proceedings at Headingley


Yorkshire v Essex | Specsavers County Championship | Emerald Headingley, Leeds

Umpires | Ian Gould & Richard Illingworth

Result | Match Drawn

Day Four Report:

The match between Yorkshire and Essex was abandoned without a ball being bowled leaving both teams with 5 points apiece from the non-event.

Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth called the match off following their 10am pitch inspection although ironically, the Headingley ground was enjoying sunshine and clear skies.

The problem areas throughout the four days has been the sodden state of the outfield at the end where the new South Stand is being erected although for a Test match with supposed excellent drainage facilities, the lack of improvement in the underfoot conditions since the opening day was of some concern.

Indeed, on day three, the umpires issued an edict stating that the media were banned from entering anywhere on the playing arena and so, it was impossible to gauge just how bad the underfoot conditions were.

Essex Head Coach Anthony McGrath said that he and his players were bitterly disappointed that not a ball had been bowled. “It’s not only frustrating for the players but the supporters as well who have spent money on hotels and everything that goes with that.” he said.

“We’ve had two days of glorious sunshine and not a ball has been bowled and it is very, very disappointing.”

Listen to more of Anthony McGrath’s reflections and also those of captain Ryan ten Doeschate on the Essex website.

The last time that Essex had been involved in a total wash out was also against Yorkshire and that was back in May 1985 when a violent thunderstorm left the ground at Abbeydale Park, Sheffield under water.

Attention now turns to The Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford where the weather forecast is fine for the start of the Specsavers County Championship match with Lancashire on Friday.

Day Three Report:

For the third successive day, not a ball was bowled at Headingley in the scheduled Specsavers County Championship match between Yorkshire and Essex.

Yet again, the state of the outfield at the end where the new stand for Rugby League football is being built is the area that is causing most concern.

Umpires Richard Illingworth and Ian Gould carried out their latest inspection at 1.40pm and at that stage, no rain had fallen on the day but within minutes of their call off, rain arrived bringing on the covers once more.

With one more day remaining, there is a chance that this game might yet be abandoned without a ball being bowled.

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.”

Ryan ten Doeschate also spoke after another frustrating day in Leeds, saying: “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.”

Essex have been involved in 16 complete washouts in first-class matches and the last time that Essex were involved in a complete wash out was back in May 1985 when, coincidentally, Yorkshire again provided the opposition.

Essex arrived as County Champions when the teams were due to meet at Abbeydale Park, Sheffield but a violent thunderstorm the previous night left the ground flooded.

The most recent time that Essex were involved in a wash out on home soil was in May 1981 when Gloucestershire were the visitors to Chelmsford.

Day Two Reaction | Anthony McGrath


Day Two Report:

For the second consecutive day, Essex were left frustrated in attempts to start the defence of the County Championship title when play was abandoned at Headingley without a ball bowled.

The outfield down at the Rugby end of the ground was a particular problem area, with a significant amount of standing water remaining following recent wet weather.

Although there was no rain today and the sun was shining when no rain umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth made a 2pm inspection, outfield conditions were still impossible.

Essex coach Anthony McGrath said: “I’m fully behind what the umpires have got to say. I’m just bitterly disappointed that, given we’ve got a sunny day, we’re not playing cricket.

“I believe these are the only two days without rain they’ve had in the last four weeks. You can understand that, and it’s been the same countrywide.

“It’s a shame because the crowd’s building nicely ready for some cricket. We’ll come back in the morning and see what happens.

“They can’t get the water hog on there because it would keep bringing the water up, and they don’t think it will dry in time for the rest of the day.

“If the bowlers run up on it and the fielders stand in it, it will make it much worse and be a bit of a quagmire.

“It’s just really frustrating, but the umpires have got to do what’s right for the ground and both teams.

“We could wait here for another four hours, keep everyone here and we’d still not be guaranteed to play. It’s one of those unfortunate periods of weather we’ve been in.”


Day One Report:

The County Champions suffered frustration in the quest to retain the Championship crown.

Not play was possible on the scheduled opening day of the fixture with Yorkshire at Headingley. After the umpires inspected conditions at 10am, they decided to have a further look after the scheduled lunch interval.

Officials Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth spent some time surveying the situation, but with the outfield still sodden following two weeks of inclement weather in Leeds and further overnight and early morning rain, the decision to abandon proceedings for the day was altogether predictable.

Neither team had confirmed their line-ups and the toss has still to take place.

A prompt start for day two is already in significant doubt but when play does get underway, Essex are expected to give a debut to Australian seamer Peter Siddle, who is with the Club until next month when he will be replaced by New Zealand quick Neil Wagner.

Yorkshire have a seam bowling unavailability and injury crisis, and have ruled Ben Coad (hip flexor) out of this match despite naming him in a 12-man squad.

The White Rose county are without Liam Plunkett and David Willey, who are at the IPL, Matthew Fisher and James Wainman (both side problems), Ben Coad, and Steve Patterson who broke his finger in training on Wednesday.

Head Coach, Anthony McGrath said: “We half expected it given the forecast and the way the weather’s been up here for the last three or four weeks. But it’s not ideal.

“We had a quick walk out when we came to drop our bags off (on Thursday evening), and it was really wet then. Just talking to a few of the Yorkshire lads, they say the wet weather keeps topping up what they’ve had all winter and it’s got nowhere to go.

“We’ve been quite lucky at Chelmsford.

“We managed somehow to get outside netting for four days from March 1 before we went to Barbados. That was a remarkable effort from our ground staff.

“We’ve also been outside for the last week, but only with bowlers off shortened run-ups.

“We’ve made the best of it and are pretty happy with what we’ve done.”