ECB ‘ar­range­ments’ are a fall from Grace

The Cricket Paper - - NEWS & VIEWS -

THE much dis­cussed im­pact of lim­ited-over cricket upon the tra­di­tional ver­sion has some odd side ef­fects.

The Di­vi­sion Two match be­tween Glouces­ter­shire and Der­byshire started at Bris­tol the day af­ter the West Indies ODI on Septem­ber 25, re­sult­ing in dis­or­gan­ised chaos on sev­eral lev­els.

Al­though un­fair to ask staff at Nevil Road to change from one gear to an­other seam­lessly, the ECB fix­ture ‘ar­range­ments’ were ex­posed as the farce they are and spec­ta­tors paid the price.

Stands blocked the view from bar and res­tau­rant and no-one knew which hal­lowed por­tal was in or out of bounds. I was ejected from one spot and, and mo­ments af­ter, a sec­ond.

Mo­tor­ing down with a dis­abled mem­ber, care was taken to check with the county for ac­cess.

The Grace gates are closed and there is no park­ing we were told and park­ing at Ash­ley Down Road end is un­avail­able too. Af­ter a quar­ter-mile hob­ble we found the Grace gates were open with sev­eral park­ing spa­ces. The Ash­ley Down Road car park was also op­er­a­tional.

Re­luc­tant to suf­fer fur­ther in­dig­nity I sought refuge in the cafe at the far end of the ground, a cheer­less clois­ter where many glum souls will of­ten be found dur­ing the day. It was closed.

As a mem­ber of the MCC and a life-long fol­lower of Glouces­ter­shire I am sad­dened to record such a dis­mal tale.

My late friend, the noted cricket writer and jour­nal­ist Arthur Rus­sell al­ways re­ferred to the Nevil Road ground as the Mause­leum, which on the 25th, lived up to it’s billing for many or­di­nary spec­ta­tors who, ex­cluded from the warm em­brace of priv­i­lege and in­clu­siv­ity, sat un­der a leaden sky in the rain.

And they won­der why peo­ple no longer come to watch cricket.

PAUL DOWNEY Tet­bury

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