More than two hours lost during Cup Match
Delays caused by spectators running on to the field to celebrate fifties and hundreds — even the taking of a key wicket — is a longtime Cup Match tradition that would be hard to stamp out, local umpires acknowledge.
Last week in Cup Match about 150 minutes were lost to unexpected delays, including 17 minutes because of a rain stoppage early on the second day.
However, as third umpire Oscar Andrade noted, there was an extra 18 minutes not added into the 2½ hours. They included late starts of seven minutes on the first day and three on the second, and an early finish on the first day after the shadow on the pitch of fluttering HSBC flags on the clubhouse side disrupted the St George’s batsmen.
The time lost equated to about 37 overs but thankfully for Somerset, the delays did not cost them victory as they were not required to bat a second time in a match that eventually ended later than was anticipated after St George’s were forced to follow on.
However, some frustration was seen in the Somerset camp late on the second day when 12 minutes were lost when St George’s fans — even many of their players — came on to the field to celebrate Onias Bascome’s century. Then there were the constant intrusions by St George’s reserves after every over to offer “assistance” to the batsmen, which the umpires eventually stopped.
“There were times when the umpires actually stopped somebody from coming on the field; it’s within the umpires’ remit to decide enough is enough,” said Andrade, who was charged with helping to keep the game running smoothly, among other things.
“Celebrations are a difficult thing to control at Cup Match,” he added. “Why we keep track of the stoppages is because the two captains are responsible for over-rates and can actually be fined under the Cup Match code of conduct for slow over-rates.
“That’s to stop the players from slowing the match down too much. Things outside the control of the fielding team, they can’t be charged with.
“The playing conditions for Cup Match is like an 86-page document, and that doesn’t include the code of conduct, over-rate calculations, breach reports.”
Andrade has officiated in five Cup Matches, three on field and two as the third umpire. Stoppages caused by spectators running on to the field are a tradition in both Cup Match and Eastern Counties, two competitions that are more that 100 years old.
“For Cup Match things like Law 42, which talks about player conduct, and in ICC matches the ability to send players off the field. We felt that wasn’t really in the spirit of Cup Match, so Law 42 was modified to refer to a code of conduct.
“Cup Match has had in place in recent years the ability to be able to fine players for violations, and that was felt to be strong enough of a deterrent, rather than us getting into ejecting somebody in the middle of the game.
“There are some other things done in international cricket that we haven’t introduced here, things like the curfew where, if there is a water break coming up, you are not allowed to send somebody onto the field to deal with batsmen needing a drink within ten minutes before and after that water break. That is a 20-minute window around the water break where nobody should be coming on.
“We have not instituted that in Bermuda cricket but it is something we found about in the last two months when Steven Douglas and I were in Jamaica doing that women’s regional tournament. It is something we saw there for the first time ever.”
Andrade also noted the lack of police officers on the field during long stoppages to help protect the pitch was also something that was lacking this year.
“None that I noticed,” Andrade said. “Our primary concern is to protect the pitch, but quite honestly two umpires are not going to force 200 fans off the field by themselves, nor should we really attempt to.
“The only that is going to stop is for the two clubs to agree that we’re are going to stop people coming onto the pitch in general. Then, how do you enforce it without security or police officers, and what is that going to cost?”
Somerset’s decision to opening the bowling with Kwasi James and Dion Stovell in the second innings was not a strategic move but rather one that was enforced by the umpires. Malachi Jones and Greg Maybury, the new ball pair in the first innings, were not allowed to bowl for eight minutes after going off the field for treatment while the last St George’s pair were batting.
“As soon as they step off the field for treatment, unless it is an external blow, then I’m keeping track of how much time they are off the field,” Andrade explained. “And passing that on to that information on to the on field umpires.” Jones came back into the attack when he replaced James in the fifth over, while Maybury was the second change soon after that.