Wetherby League: Storm brews over ‘farcical’ rain rules as Kirk Deighton and Wetherby lose out

Storm clouds gather over covers (1705033)
Storm clouds gather over covers (1705033)

Two crucial matches in the Wetherby League descended into a “farce” on Saturday afternoon as newly implemented rain rules evoked memories of sides patting back maiden overs to avoid defeat.

Division One leaders Kirk Deighton and reigning champions Wetherby were both cruelly denied victory following a 30-minute downpour shortly into the second innings of their matches.

The Wetherby League rain rules allowed Shadwell and Old Leodiensians to block out the remaining overs of the match and earn a share of the points.

Deighton captain Rich Ward, whose side were involved in a top of the table clash against second-placed Shadwell, said: “It took us back 10 or 12 years to the losing draw scenarios.

“It was a bit of a farce of an afternoon.”

Deighton and Wetherby had both racked up almost 300 runs in their first innings before the heavens opened early in their opponents’ chase.

The Wetherby League rules implemented at the start of the season state that any match affected by rain for more than 15 minutes in the second innings will end in a draw unless there is a natural conclusion.

Reigning champions Wetherby used eight bowlers to try and tempt Old Leodiensians’ batsmen into a false shot as their opponents made just 97-1 before the captain’s shook hands.

Deighton’s bowlers were left trying every trick in the book to prize out Shadwell’s stout batsmen, with the fall of four wickets all-but ending their chances of chasing down the target.

Ward added: “I wasn’t sure of the rain rules until it happened.

“We batted first and got 293 and then it rained for half an hour so we lost four overs.

“At which point we were told that if we didn’t bowl them out the points would be shared, they could bat for the draw.

“They came out and started quite well but as soon as they lost a few wickets they shut up shop.

“It just showed new rain rule don’t seem to work.

“I have no problem with what Shadwell did, though, as we would have done exactly the same in their position”

The rain rules were changed at the beginning of the 2015 season as the league’s organising committee attempted to stop matches dragging into the late hours of the evening.

However, Saturday’s events are likely to force another change, with the introduction of the Duckworth/Lewis system a possible conclusion.

Head of senior cricket Paul Robinson said the Wetherby League’s senior cricket committee would review the rules with a view to changing them for next season.

He said: “It’s regrettable and we will be looking at it but we changed the rain rules in good faith to try and improved the finish times. It’s done that ,but unfortunately it’s affected two high profile games.”