Somerset’s 12-point deduction for preparing a substandard pitch against Essex is halved

Somerset’s 12-point deduction for preparing a substandard pitch against Essex in the 2019 County Championship decider has been reduced to eight ahead of this season’s revamped first-class competition.

A Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) disciplinary panel in November 2019 rated the Taunton surface ‘poor’ due to excessive unevenness of bounce, imposing a 24-point penalty, half of which was suspended for two years.

  • Essex begin remodelled County Championship at home
  • Somerset handed 24-point penalty in 2019

With a shortened and separate first-class season being held last year, it was decided to defer the punishment until this summer, but the England and Wales Cricket Board and Somerset petitioned the CDC to reconsider the sanction.

That was because when the initial penalty was doled out, it was thought there would be a 14-match, two division format to the LV= Insurance County Championship but the format has been changed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Instead, the counties have been initially split into three seeded conferences of six, playing each side within their group home and away, leading to the CDC to reconsider its punishment.

A direct eight-point deduction will apply and if Somerset commit more breaches of pitch regulations, in addition to further sanctions being imposed, the CDC panel will determine how the suspended penalty will be exercised.

The ECB added in a statement: “All parties understand that the (currently) suspended element relating to the 2022 season will need to be revisited once the format of the 2022 LV= Insurance County Championship is known.”

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “Obviously we are pleased that the ECB have taken the decision to amend the sanction proportionately in light of the new structure of the domestic season in 2021.

“We are grateful that we have clarity at this time and with training going exceptionally well so far, everyone associated with the club is looking forward to what will hopefully be another successful year.”

Somerset CEO Gordon Hollins added: “We are pleased that we can now put this matter behind us and focus on the forthcoming season.”

County Championship Group Stage fixtures (group in brackets)

Thursday, April 8

Northamptonshire vs Kent, The County Ground (3)

Essex vs Worcestershire, The Cloudfm County Ground (1)

Sussex vs Lancashire, The 1st Central County Ground (3)

Middlesex vs Somerset, Lord’s (2)

Leicestershire vs Hampshire, Grace Road (2)

Gloucestershire vs Surrey, Bristol County Ground (2)

Nottinghamshire vs Durham, Trent Bridge (1)

Yorkshire vs Glamorgan, Emerald Headingley (3)

Warwickshire vs Derbyshire, Edgbaston (1)

Thursday, April 15

Hampshire vs Middlesex, Ageas Bowl (2)

Lancashire vs Northamptonshire, Emirates Old Trafford (3)

Kent vs Yorkshire, Canterbury (3)

Glamorgan vs Sussex, Sophia Gardens (3)

Somerset vs Gloucestershire, The Cooper Associates County Ground (2)

Derbyshire vs Worcestershire, The Incora County Ground (1)

Essex vs Durham, The Cloudfm County Ground (1)

Nottinghamshire vs Warwickshire, Trent Bridge (1)

Surrey vs Leicestershire, Kia Oval (2)

Thursday, April 22

Sussex vs Yorkshire, The 1st Central County Ground (3)

Durham vs Derbyshire, Emirates Riverside (1)

Kent vs Lancashire, Canterbury (3)

Worcestershire vs Nottinghamshire, New Road (1)

Hampshire vs Gloucestershire, Ageas Bowl (2)

Warwickshire vs Essex, Edgbaston (1)

Middlesex vs Surrey, Lord’s (2)

Northamptonshire vs Glamorgan, The County Ground (3)

Leicestershire vs Somerset, Grace Road (2)

Thursday, April 29

Lancashire vs Sussex Emirates, Old Trafford (3)

Derbyshire vs Nottinghamshire, The Incora County Ground (1)

Worcestershire vs Essex, New Road (1)

Durham vs Warwickshire, Emirates Riverside (1)

Gloucestershire vs Leicestershire, Bristol County Ground (2)

Somerset vs Middlesex, The Cooper Associates County (2)

Glamorgan vs Kent, Sophia Gardens (3)

Yorkshire vs Northamptonshire, Emerald Headingley (3)

Surrey vs Hampshire, Kia Oval (2)

Thursday, May 6

Yorkshire vs Kent, Emerald Headingley (3)

Leicestershire vs Surrey, Grace Road (2)

Warwickshire vs Worcestershire, Edgbaston (1)

Middlesex vs Gloucestershire, Lord’s (2)

Lancashire vs Glamorgan, Emirates Old Trafford (3)

Northamptonshire vs Sussex, The County Ground (3)

Hampshire vs Somerset, Ageas Bowl (2)

Nottinghamshire vs Essex, Trent Bridge (1)

Thursday, May 13

Essex vs Derbyshire, The Cloudfm County Ground (1)

Sussex vs Kent, The 1st Central County Ground (3)

Glamorgan vs Yorkshire, Sophia Gardens (3)

Middlesex vs Hampshire, Lord’s (2)

Durham vs Worcestershire, Emirates Riverside (1)

Somerset vs Surrey, The Cooper Associates County (2)

Thursday, May 20

Nottinghamshire vs Worcestershire, Trent Bridge (1)

Essex vs Warwickshire, The Cloudfm County Ground (1)

Derbyshire vs Durham, The Incora County Ground (1)

Northamptonshire vs Lancashire, The County Ground (3)

Kent vs Glamorgan, Canterbury (3)

Hampshire vs Leicestershire, Ageas Bowl (2)

Gloucestershire vs Somerset, Bristol County Ground (2)

Surrey vs Middlesex, Kia Oval (2)

Thursday, May 27

Durham vs Essex, Emirates Riverside (1)

Warwickshire vs Nottinghamshire, Edgbaston (1)

Worcestershire vs Derbyshire, New Road (1)

Lancashire vs Yorkshire, Emirates Old Trafford (3)

Sussex vs Northamptonshire, The 1st Central County Ground (3)

Surrey vs Gloucestershire, Guildford (2)

Leicestershire vs Middlesex, Grace Road (2)

Thursday, June 3

Yorkshire vs Sussex Emerald, Headingley (3)

Worcestershire vs Durham, New Road (1)

Essex vs Nottinghamshire, The Cloudfm County Ground (1)

Derbyshire vs Warwickshire, The Incora County Ground (1)

Kent vs Northamptonshire, Canterbury (3)

Glamorgan vs Lancashire, venue tbc (3)

Somerset vs Hampshire, The Cooper Associates County (2)

Sunday, July 4

Lancashire vs Kent, Emirates Old Trafford (3)

Northamptonshire vs Yorkshire, The County Ground (3)

Gloucestershire vs Middlesex, Cheltenham (2)

Sussex vs Glamorgan, The 1st Central County Ground (3)

Nottinghamshire vs Derbyshire, Trent Bridge (1)

Warwickshire vs Durham Edgbaston (1)

Hampshire vs Surrey, Ageas Bowl (2)

Somerset vs Leicestershire, The Cooper Associates County (2)

Sunday, July 11

Derbyshire vs Essex, Chesterfield (1)

Durham vs Nottinghamshire, Emirates Riverside (1)

Worcestershire vs Warwickshire, New Road (1)

Yorkshire vs Lancashire, Scarborough (3)

Gloucestershire vs Hampshire, Cheltenham (2)

Middlesex vs Leicestershire, Merchant Taylors (2)

Surrey vs Somerset, Kia Oval (2)

Glamorgan vs Northamptonshire, Sophia Gardens (3)

Kent vs Sussex, Beckenham (3)

Division Stage dates

Round 1 Aug 30 – Sept 2

Round 2 Sept 5-8

Round 3 Sept 12-15

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