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Durham counting cost of wash-out

Christopher Martin-Jenkins

Wednesday 21 May 1997

INCONVENIENT though it was for the Australians, who moved on to Leeds early to prepare for the first one-day international tomorrow, yesterday's wash-out at Durham was much more serious for local cricket.

A five-figure sum in potential income was lost to the county club and with it went a certain degree of disgruntlement from those who had heard the chief executive, Mike Candlish, speak optimistically about the prospects of play on local radio in the morning, only to find the match was abandoned shortly before 10.00.

The optimism was understandable, despite heavy rain overnight. The club are well equipped with drying equipment, and the match against the Australians had been due to attract the biggest crowd the ground has seen. Finishing touches to the new facilities for members had been completed at 2.30am in preparation for their opening by Kevin Keegan.

All a sun-tanned Keegan could offer the touring team, however, was a football match. An inspection by the umpires, John Hampshire and George Sharp, accompanied by David Boon, Mark Taylor and the groundsman, Tom Flintoft, quickly established that to delay abandonment would only increase everyone's frustration.

The Australians had been hoping to give Andy Bichel his first game of the tour after his recovery from a strained joint in the back. Geoff Marsh, the coach, said of his stocky swing bowler that he would have been a certain choice for the one-day internationals, given some match practice. ``In South Africa he bowled very well for us and batted and fielded well too.''

Now Bichel will be obliged to watch Mike Kasprowicz having the first chance to try to claim the position of third fast bowler, a role which one of them will surely be required to play in the Test series as well. The only injured player now is Greg Blewett, who has a knee strain. Ricky Ponting, who went round Durham City golf course in 54 on Monday, is the alternative choice at six for the match at Headingley tomorrow. Fortunately, the forecast is good.

Source: The Electronic Telegraph
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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 14:57