It has been confirmed that Somerset will begin next year’s County Championship at negative 12 points. They have been handed this penalty after they were found guilty of breaching England Cricket Board’s pitch regulations during the final game of the County Championship season against Essex back in September.
The pitch prepared at the Taunton was rated ‘poor’ for what turned out to be an effective title-deciding game as the bounce was found to be excessively uneven and as a result, Somerset was charged with a breach of the regulation that requires each county to prepare the best quality cricket pitch for the match it is staging.
The charge consisted of two parts. First, that the pitch was correctly rated poor, which Somerset accepted, and secondly, that the surface was not the best that the club was able to produce for the match. On this second charge, Somerset pleaded not guilty.
However, a Cricket Disciplinary Commission (CDC) hearing on Monday (November 18) at Lord’s upheld the charge and handed Somerset a 24-point deduction – with 12 of those points suspended for two years. It means the club will begin the 2020 Championship season on minus 12 points.
Somerset is currently awaiting the full CDC verdict and will have to decide on appealing the decision for which the time-period to appeal is 14 days.
Somerset have been under the CDC investigation relating to pitches at Taunton before as well. The most recent case was in 2018 when the surface for a game against Lancashire which ended in two days was rated “below average” and although no action was taken at that time, the CDC warned that “Somerset CCC’s pitch preparation will continue to be monitored very closely. The club should expect any proven breach of ECB’s pitch regulations in future to result in a points deduction.”
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