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Twenty20 fiasco taken to ECB

Kent cricket chiefs are to hold urgent talks with the ECB this morning in a bid to avoid a repeat of the fiasco on Saturday during the Twenty20 Cup clash with the Essex Eagles.

In a match interrupted for two hours by a thunder storm and heavy rain, the umpires were forced to reduce the match to just five overs per side.

With the match arranged to end at the pre-arranged 6pm, the match ended in bright sunshine and no prospect of additional showers.

The decision left angry supporters booing the umpires and forcing the club to immediately offer all ticket holders half price entry into Tuesday night’s game against Sussex.

But the club say officials did only what they were able to do under ECB regulations – but will today look to persuade the lawmakers to made future exceptions.

In front of a big Saturday afternoon crowd, Kent had reached 44-1 from a little over five overs when the rain forced the players off, just half an hour after the game had started at 3pm.

By the time the players re-emerged a little before 5.30pm the Duckworth Lewis method had been implemented to give Essex a target of 50 from five overs.

In scenes of high drama, Kent took three wickets in the final over to win by three runs. They had tied on Friday at the Rose Bowl to Hampshire.

A statement put on Kent’s official website on Sunday apologised to fans – who had paid £15 to watch just 61 balls bowled.

Chief executive Paul Millman said: “It’s a great concern for me that there were many families here today that felt short-changed and I have to say that I understand their point of view.

“They came to watch a game of 40 overs and saw 10 - but the biggest irony was that the shortened match finished in bright sunshine and in the best conditions of the day.

“I will raise these concerns with the ECB on Monday morning to see if there can be more flexibility when it comes to rain affected Twenty20 games because I don’t want to see anyone leave here unhappy.”

The playing conditions set by the ECB state that the cessation of play has to be 2 hours and 45 minutes after the scheduled start of play. With the match starting at 3pm, the cessation of play was set at 5.45pm.

Added Kent commercial and operations director Jon Fordham, the designated match manager: ‘I can confirm that the umpires had no alternative then to reduce the game to a total of just 10 overs. A call was made to the ECB to ask for a degree of licence, given the improvement in the weather, but to no avail.

“I recollect a game at Derby earlier this month in the Friends Provident Trophy where play was suspended because of the sun shining in the players eyes from one end of the ground. The match was stopped, and when the sun had moved on, and play was continued, that match was also reduced in overs. The first instance I can remember of good weather stopping play.

"Because of this, the ECB have introduced a local rule at Derby where a similar interruption in play will not result in a reduction of overs, and I hope that the ECB will look closely at what has happened in Canterbury, and allow a similar element of common sense to prevail at the umpires discretion.”

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