NatWest Pro40 - Division Two (at Edgbaston): Kent Spitfires 228-8 (R W T Key 80) v Warwickshire Bears 206-9 (I J L Trott 91 no, Azhar Mahmood 4-29). Kent beat Warwickshire by 22 runs.
Cricket supporters are, by nature, a pretty long-suffering lot.
They expect to burn in the sun and wait in the rain. They understand that for every ‘Headingley ‘81’ they’ll be a few ‘Horsham ‘04s’ and they appreciate that they’ll be taken for granted and expected to pay for the privilege.But they do have a few basic expectations. Like access to the ground. And some idea of the score.
Both were denied them on Sunday. For the second time this season, umpires held up play as nobody had a clue what was going on.
For the last 15 overs, the public address system was required to update spectators - and players - with the state of play. At the time of writing, moments after the game, the board suggests Northamptonshire are playing Glamorgan...
To make matters worse, many spectators were forced to wait for access to the ground after the electronic barriers broke down. You would have thought the stewards could simply press a button and release the barrier, wouldn’t you?
But no. This is Edgbaston. Where surrealism rules and logic, like the supporters, is stuck in a queue of traffic thinking they’d have been better off mowing the lawn.
Indeed, it took a member of the press contingent armed with nothing more than fierce impatience and an IQ greater than a potato to fix it.
Such issues matter. Not only did the barrier not allow traffic in, the stewards said it would not allow traffic out. Had an ambulance required access they would have been thwarted.
The issue with the board may also prove costly. If the Test match against South Africa is affected in the same way - and it surely will be - then Edgbaston’s credibility as a venue will be damaged.
Indeed, it is only a matter of time before someone suggests it should render them unacceptable as the host of an Ashes Test.
Colin Povey, Warwickshire’s chief executive, returns from holiday on Monday morning. He may think he had more pressing tasks than the scoreboards but he does not.
Man has learnt how to travel to the moon, pause live television, clone babies and genetically modify food; it really shouldn’t be beyond us to update some numbers on a board. The state of affairs is a persistent disgrace to a great club and if the management cannot resolve it they need to make way for those who can. More excuses are not an option.
The mood of Warwickshire members will not have been improved by the on-field entertainment. It was not that Warwickshire were poor - far from it - but they were comprehensively outplayed by a Kent side who have become a very impressive limited-overs outfit.
Only briefly, in a stand of 58 in ten overs between Jonathan Trott and Tim Groenewald, did it appear Warwickshire might win. Seamer Simon Cook bowled immaculately, suffocating Warwickshire in mid-innings, while Azhar Mahmood’s bowling at ‘the death’ was masterful. Quite simply, the better side won.
There are two views on Trott’s innings (102 balls, seven fours). Either he was excellent and lacked support, or he was one-paced and placed too heavy a burden on his colleagues. The former is more accurate, as his team-mates seemed unable to cope with this attack. But, if a fellow finishes unbeaten having batted throughout an innings, he can hardly have paced it correctly, can he?
Neil Carter and Jim Troughton were undone by effort balls, dabbing at deliveries that bounced more than they expected, while Darren Maddy edged as he attempted to drive a ball that wasn’t there for the shot and, two balls later, Tony Frost tried to turn a straight one to leg.
Luke Parker, preferred to Michael Powell, did his cause few favours and was stumped after charging down the pitch before Ant Botha’s reverse sweep looped up to the keeper.
Groenewald (36 balls, two fours and a six) flourished briefly but the target was always too steep. Wonderful yorkers and slower balls accounted for the tail.
Perhaps it might have been different. Rob Key should have been run out before he had faced a ball. Sent back by Joe Denly, he turned like an oil tanker and had given up hope of regaining his ground. Alas, the throw from Jim Troughton was wild. Key (83 balls, seven fours and a six) went on to punish Warwickshire.
Though Denly was bowled without scoring, a peach of a ball by Chris Woakes pitching middle and hitting off, Key and Martin van Jaarsveld added 82 in 13 overs. Van Jaarsveld (47 balls, seven fours and a six), utilising an odd baseball style stance which involves a shoulder-high backlift, drove splendidly and pulled Woakes for a six.
Warwickshire’s spinners were less effective than had been hoped but Carter and Maddy saw that only 35 were scored in the last 8.2 overs for the loss of five wickets.
It was still too many.