Derbyshire CCC cautioned over ground-switch because of Boyzone concert

Derbyshire have signed Harry Podmore from Middlesex.
Derbyshire have signed Harry Podmore from Middlesex.

Derbyshire CCC have accepted a caution over the abandonement of a match in September and said it would learn from the experience when staging non-cricket events.

No play was possible during their Specsavers County Championship match against Kent at Chesterfield, from 19th–22nd September, due to a waterlogged ground.

Derbyshire had switched the venue at the last minute from Derby, where the ground was recovering from a Boyzone concert.

The Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) said the county’s decision to host the concert at Derby three days before the scheduled fixture was optimistic.

Following the match, during which no play was possible, a complaint was made by Kent.

The CDC cautioned Derbyshire after ruling its actions in moving the location of the game three days before it was due to start because the Derby venue was being used for a concert were “prejudicial to the interests of cricket”.

The county was not fined or deducted points, but the CDC said such sanctions could be used in similar cases in the future.

Derbyshire chief executive Simon Storey said: “We share the disappointment of members, spectators and players that due to bad weather before the fixture, we weren’t able to get a game on at Chesterfield.

“We are grateful that we have had the opportunity to respond in full to all of the submissions made in regard to the abandonment and the scheduling of concerts.

“It is in the interest of Derbyshire and all first class counties hosting non-cricket events to learn from this experience moving forward and we have agreed to accept the advice and caution issued by the CDC.”

A CDC statement said: “Derbyshire’s decision to host a concert at the Derby ground in September, three days before the scheduled fixture, was optimistic and meant that the match had to be moved to Chesterfield after the county found that their ground did not recover as expected.

“Whilst Derby is the primary venue for first-class cricket in Derbyshire and its drainage is superior to Chesterfield, there was no breach of the ECB pitch document in relation to the state of the Chesterfield pitch and there is no evidence that there was a material likelihood 72 hours before the scheduled start that there would be no play across the course of the match.

“Despite the very professional efforts of the Chesterfield authorities and groundstaff (of whom no criticism at all is made) no play was possible as a result of a wet outfield following heavy downpours on the evening prior to the match and on day three of the fixture.

“Although Derbyshire considered their decision to host a concert carefully beforehand and acted on the advice of the promoter, their decision to host the concert in September was taken with insufficient experience as to how long it would take their ground to recover from a concert.

“The complete abandonment of the match caused great frustration and disappointment for players and spectators alike and could have had more serious consequences for both Kent and Derbyshire.”

The CDC said it understood the importance for counties of raising revenue through wider non-cricketing opportunities, such as the staging of concerts.

It said Derbyshire had been advised to make use of the experience when scheduling events at their ground in future. Derbyshire and other first class counties have been advised not to consider hosting matches at out-grounds before mid-May or in September.

In September Storey said: “We will learn from this moving forward. To minimise the risk of weather intervening, we will focus on Chesterfield as an out-ground only in the core summer months of June, July and August.”