ECB inspectors penalise damp surface May 25, 2007

Glamorgan docked eight points for Swansea pitch

Cricinfo staff

Glamorgan have been docked eight Championship points after ECB inspectors found them guilty of failing to prepare the pitch at Swansea properly for the match against Middlesex. Twenty-one wickets fell on the first day, and Middlesex wrapped up an innings victory inside two days.

ECB pitch inspector Jack Birkenshaw summoned colleagues Chris Broad and David Bridle to St Helen's to view the pitch that was damp on the first day. The trio evidence from both captains and coaches, and groundsman Len Smith, during two hours of deliberations before penalising the county.

Birkenshaw said the eight-point penalty was due to a poor pitch that produced "excessive turn'', even though seam was responsible for 20 wickets and spin claimed only nine.

There was unease from the start of the match as heavy rain had exposed inadequate covering. The groundsmen used coconut matting overlaid with tarpaulins, and both attracted moisture, leaving the playing surface damp. Overcast conditions and some poor techniques by batsmen did the rest.

In fairness, Glamorgan identified the problem and purchased proper roll-on covers for £5000, but they won't arrive until Monday.

"It's frustrating from our perspective because the ground staff had put in the hard work they can into preparing the pitch, but the weather has been against us,'' Mike Fatkin, Glamorgan's chief executive, said. "It's disappointing because however long the pitch-panel system has been working we have gone all that time without being docked points.

"It's a new experience for us and if we were being honest we expected to get away with just a warning. We don't believe we have done anything deliberate or anything fundamentally wrong as far as the regulations are concerned. We were victims of poor weather in the lead-up to the game.''