County play down incidents June 26, 2007

Vandals and thieves blight Middlesex match

Cricinfo staff

The normally serene Southgate was victim to two ugly incidents on Monday © Martin Williamson

Middlesex's Twenty20 Cup match against Hampshire at Southgate yesterday was marred by thieves stealing "several players'" wallets from Middlesex's dressing room. A spokesman from Middlesex told Cricinfo that Hampshire's team bus was also damaged by rocks thrown at it from outside the ground during the game.

"As players, we make the effort to play in dangerous conditions and that's the thanks you get," Nic Pothas, the Hampshire wicketkeeper told the BBC. "We took a stand - we refused to sign autographs after the game. It's very unfortunate. The windows of the bus have been smashed and the Middlesex guys have had all their valuables stolen, he said. "Last year we had an unsavoury incident when Dom Thornely got spat at at Sussex.

"We are big boys. If people take the mickey out of you or comment about the way you look that's happy days. But if people talk about what they want to do to your mother and it starts going to a more personal level then we have to take a stand. If you do that to us, then we won't sign autographs for your kids."

Vinny Codrington, Middlesex's chief executive, said that Pothas's comments "were not targeted at Southgate specifically but were over Twenty20 crowds generally and we will be discussing this further with the ECB.

"I am surprised to hear the suggestion that there was any verbal abuse or unruly behaviour at last night's game. No such incidents were reported either to, or by, the stewards. Overall the atmosphere was friendly, family orientated and positive. It is a shame that two unrelated incidents by different individuals have been blown out of proportion and spoilt what was a very enjoyable evening, where much money was raised for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Both these very unfortunate incidents caused by the individuals with no interest in Middlesex CCC or cricket in general must not be allowed to sully the reputation of our club or it's terrific supporters."

"I am, however, reviewing our stewarding for future matches at outgrounds. I will be reminding our stewards, all of whom are professionally trained, of their responsibilities prior to tomorrow night's match at Uxbridge. We sincerely hope that all spectators will come, enjoy the day and the Twenty20 experience supporting both sides in a positive and enjoyable manner."