CRICKETher travelled all the way to Edmonton today to see Middlesex against Berkshire, only to see the match abandoned without a ball being bowled.
Was it raining? Nope. It may have rained last night, and a little this morning, but all afternoon there has been bright sunshine across London.
Yet no play for Middlesex Women.
Why? Because Edmonton Cricket Club do not currently possess fully-functioning covers. The last set were vandalised months ago, and the new ones have not yet arrived.
Which meant that, overnight, the pitch was covered with leaking, ragged old tarpaulins – and so much water got through the holes that, even at 11 o’clock this morning, it was obvious that the teams would be unable to play at all today.
This was incredibly frustrating – for the fans, who had travelled miles to be at the game, and even more so for the players, who were clearly chomping at the bit to get out there and start their season.
I guess you could argue that today was no one’s fault except for the idiots who vandalised the covers in the first place.
Maybe. Except…would the staff at any men’s county ground in the country have to go through months of insurance paperwork and bureaucracy before their covers were replaced? Would any men’s county season ever start without all grounds having fully-functioning covers?
Would the ECB even let that happen?
The problem is, this isn’t an isolated incident. It happens every year, and the ECB never seem to do anything about it.
Just last year, Sussex’s match against Berkshire at Wokingham was cancelled because the bowlers’ approaches hadn’t been covered at all the night before. It rained overnight, but we had a full day of bright sunshine – yet no cricket for either team.
I could go on.
The ECB claim they are making women’s domestic cricket a priority. The change this season to a white ball and coloured clothing is supposed to be an example of that.
Hardly. When CRICKETher turned up at Edmonton today, the black covers for the sightscreens – put up in preparation for the white-ball game today – didn’t even fully cover the screens. I guess they couldn’t afford bigger ones? Hardly a shining example of commitment to domestic cricket by the ECB.
The way I see it is this.
The ECB don’t know that this is going on and it’s actually the fault of the cricket boards, who are failing to provide adequate funding / pitches for their women’s county teams.
The ECB do know that this is going on, but they aren’t bothered enough about women’s county cricket to do anything about it.
If it’s 1), then we need to work together to bring any incidents like this one to the attention to the ECB. Please do report them to CRICKETher, and we will do so.
If it’s 2)…well, I guess I’m just hoping that it isn’t 2). Because if the ECB want women’s cricket to thrive, it’s not enough just to focus on those 18 contracted players at the elite level. We need women’s county cricket – which is, after all, the next level below international cricket (at least until those elusive franchise do or don’t appear) to be played on good quality pitches. We need fans to feel like everyone is working together to provide a good spectacle for them. And above all else…we actually need some cricket to be played.
Today was not a good day for women’s cricket. I can’t think that the ECB would disagree with that, at least.