Move from County Ground might be necessary November 29, 2007

Derbyshire seek sunset solution

Cricinfo staff

Sunset at the County Ground © Getty Images
A report in The Times says that Derbyshire have been in talks with Her Majesty's Nautical Almanac Office (HMNAO) in a bid to resolve the ongoing problems they are having with the setting sun interrupting day-night matches at the County Ground.

The east-west alignment of the pitch means that the sun sets directly behind on end, and matches have had to be suspended for the period either side of sunset as players have been unable to see the ball as it leaves the bowler's hand. Turning floodlights on actually adds to the glare.

HMNAO have produced charts which should allow county officials to log the exact position of the sun during the season so that they can cut their pitches accordingly, reposition the square or, as a last resort, move to a different ground.

"I do not think Derbyshire will have to move, but they can see when the sun reaches its critical altitude they might have to reorientate their ground," Dr Steve Bell, who runs HMNAO, told The Times. "There are quite a number of professional sports grounds where the orientation is not favourable."

"The low sun not only causes a problem in day-night matches but affects championship cricket as well and we have to do something about that," Tom Sears, Derbyshire's CEO, explained. "We have seen an explosion in attendance figures since we were able to move the starting times of matches back later in the day."

While Derbyshire would be most reluctant to move their headquarters, if a solution to the setting sun cannot be found then the financial cost of staying put might force their hand.