From Boyzone to No-Go Zone

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Derbyshire’s abandoned fixture against Kent had been moved to Chesterfield due to fears that a Boyzone pop concert could have damaged the outfield at Derby

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A general view of the Championship match at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield  Getty Images

Matt Walker, Kent’s head coach, says there are questions to answer after their match against Derbyshire at Chesterfield, rescheduled due to a pop concert at their headquarters in Derby, was abandoned without a ball being bowled in the entire game.

Umpires Stephen Gale and Billy Taylor decided there could be no play on day four after heavy rain on Thursday only added to the already saturated outfield at Queen’s Park.

It is the 11th time in Derbyshire’s history that a first-class game has been abandoned at Chesterfield without a ball bowled. However, Derbyshire had switched the fixture to Queen’s Park because there were concerns a Boyzone pop concert at the County Ground on Saturday night could have damaged the outfield.

After heavy rain on Monday night left the Chesterfield ground waterlogged, there was little chance of the game going ahead and Walker said: “It’s very disappointing because everyone has something to play for.

“We were looking to give someone a debut this week and people are playing for milestones and places. Everyone has things to prove at this back end of the season and as I said before this game we wanted to finish on a bit of a high with a couple of wins.

“But when we turned up on day one I think we all knew we weren’t going to bowl a ball on here for the four days and probably not for another four days because it’s just not in a fit state to play cricket.

“I’m not going to get into reasons as to why they did it, that’s up to the ECB to ask those questions, but from our point of view it is disappointing because the guys wanted to play and prove what a good side they are.

“You don’t expect it these days with the facilities at grounds and everything in place to stop this from happening but when you come to an outground there is a risk and certainly in September there is an even higher risk.

“It’s not the groundsmen’s fault, they were fighting a losing battle from ball one really, but unfortunately knowing the risks attached to a ground that is susceptible to being waterlogged at this time of year, there was probably the opportunity to play it somewhere else.

“No one wants to come to a game of cricket and not play for four days, players, umpires, supporters especially, so I imagine everyone has got a few questions to ask.

“We weren’t in a promotion hunt, had we been god knows what would have happened, everyone would have been absolutely livid about the situation but that’s not the point really, everyone has different reasons for wanting to impress at this time of year and we wanted to play.

“I don’t want anyone to get punished and I’m not saying throw the book at anybody but it’s disappointing and it definitely needs looking at in the future.”

Gale, who is retiring at the end of the season, said: “It’s been a frustrating four days, I’ve been umpiring 10 seasons and this is the first time I’ve had a game where there’s not been a ball bowled.

“But unfortunately at no stage over the four days was the ground fit for first-class cricket. There was a very heavy downpour in the night prior to the game and the ground was very wet when we turned up, it was very muddy and with the very heavy dews and extra rain on day three we had no opportunity to get going.”

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