ECB's ban on flat covers hits Brumbrella (21 April 1999)

21 April 1999

ECB's ban on flat covers hits Brumbrella

Martin Searby

The 'Brumbrella', a 200-yard cover which rolls out to protect most of Warwickshire's Edgbaston ground from the elements, is in danger of becoming a white elephant as the result of new and unpublished regulations issued by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Introduced 10 years ago, the Brumbrella was designed to virtually ensure that whenever it was not raining, play would be under way. But the ECB are opposed to flat covers and have said they should not be used this season during matches. This is to stop groundsmen using plastic or tarpaulin sheets to make pitches 'sweat'.

But with the water table at the Birmingham ground at an all-time high, Dennis Amiss, the county's chief executive, asked for special dispensation to use the Brumbrella during the match with Somerset.

"The board said it was all right if the umpires and both captains agreed, but Somerset objected and the ground is now so wet we are worried that there might not be any more play in this game."

Pools of water soon formed on the square and outfield yesterday and play was abandoned for the day shortly after an early lunch. There was also no play in the four other county matches due to start today.

Dermot Reeve, the Somerset director of cricket, said: "We didn't object to them using the Brumbrella to cover most of the ground, but we didn't want it going over the pitch."

Reeve, who played for Warwickshire for eight years and captained them for four seasons, added: "My experience is that the Brumbrella draws a lot of moisture to the surface, and we didn't want that."

If Warwickshire had followed Somerset's wishes, the six-ton roller which supports the 40-yard wide high-tech tarpaulin would have rested across the square and caused a deep indentation in it. The county are now considering buying a newer, lightweight version which weighs five tons less, at a cost of £85,000.

Warwickshire have offered a two-year contract to Ian Bell, the 17-year-old England under-19 batsman who was not even a registered player when he was selected for last winter's tour of New Zealand.

Graham Ford, a former local provincial second XI cricketer and now an experienced coach, will be Bob Woolmer's successor as South African national coach.

Ford, 38, has agreed a three-year contract which ends weeks of speculation following Woolmer's decision to quit after the World Cup in June.

A restraining order preventing president Thilanga Sumathipala and others from officiating on the Sri Lanka Cricket Board has been extended by a court in Colombo until Monday, when a new hearing will consider allegations that gun-toting intruders prevented free and fair elections to the board last month.

Yesterday

PPP County Championship

No play (rain): 1st day of 4:

Derby: Derbys v Glamorgan.
Leicester: Leics v Notts.
Lord's: Middlesex v Lancs.
Worcester: Worcs v Surrey.

2nd day of 4:

Edgbaston: Warwicks 356-7 (T L Penney 73, K J Piper 66, D R Brown 55no) v Somerset.

Fixtures

PPP County Championship

1st day of 4 (11am)

Southampton: Hants v Kent.
Hove: Sussex v Northants.
Headingley: Yorks v Gloucs.

2nd day of 4 (11am)

Derby: Derbyshire v Glamorgan.
Leicester: Leics v Notts.
Lord's: Middlesex v Lancs.
Worcester: Worcs v Surrey.

3rd day of 4 (11am)

Edgbaston: Warwicks v Somerset.

Other Match (1st day of 3, 11.30am).

Fenner's: Cambridge Univ v Essex.

2nd XI (11am) - Championship:

1st day of 3:

Cardiff: Glamorgan v Essex.

2nd day of 4:

Riverside: Durham v Northants.
Ashford: Kent v Somerset.
Trent Bridge: Notts v Middlesex.

AON Trophy: Bristol: Gloucs v Glamorgan.

Source :: Electronic Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

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