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Somerset handed points deduction for ‘poor’ pitch in Championship decider

Somerset points deduction
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Somerset have been handed a 24 points deduction ahead of next season’s County Championship, with 12 of those suspended for two years, after the ECB’s Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) found the county guilty of preparing a “poor” pitch for their title decider against Essex in September. 

Representatives of the county were called to attend a meeting at Lord’s on Monday afternoon and the club was found guilty of a charge consisting of two elements. They produced a “poor” pitch and it “was not the best quality cricket pitch that Somerset County Cricket Club was able to prepare for the match”. Somerset needed to win the match to claim their first-ever County Championship title. A draw resulted in Essex winning Division One for the second time in three years.

Somerset pleaded guilty to the first element of the charge but pleaded not guilty in respect to the second element. The CDC have not yet published the reasons behind their decision but have said that they will do so in due course. Somerset will wait for the release of the CDC report before deciding whether or not to appeal the points deduction. They have 14 days to make that call.

In a rain-affected affair, 17 of the 21 wickets in the game fell to spin bowling. Essex opted to hand left-arm spinner Aron Nijjar is first County Championship outing of the season, while Somerset opted to field three spinners themselves. Essex’s official website commented in their match report that the pitch “took prolific turn from the start of the match.”

While wickets tended to fall regularly, there were periods in the game where they were harder to come by. Somerset, through Roelof van der Merwe and Jack Leach, put on 59 for the 10th wicket while Essex were themselves 102-1 at one point in their first innings. Alastair Cook scored 83 runs and was dismissed just once across his two innings.

Had Somerset pulled off a victory in September, they would have finished ahead of Essex but by a margin of less than 12 points.

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