BOURNEMOUTH University have issued an apology and insisted they are in “constant dialogue” with the relevant parties to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s abandoned cricket clash at Chapel Gate.
For just the second time in the Southern Premier League’s 23-year history, a match had to be called off due to an unsafe surface, the other coming at Cove in 2000.
In just the 15th over, Bournemouth CC’s match against Hook & Newnham Basics was abandoned by senior panel umpires Dean Daniels and Huw Evans, in the interests of player safety.
Hook were 28 for four at this point, before batter Harry Warner was struck in the chest after a ball by Dan Conway bounced up off the rock-hard surface.
The 65-acre site at Chapel Gate is owned by Bournemouth University, who are responsible for the preparation of the three cricket pitches the club uses at weekends and in midweek.
The cricket club, which pays a hefty annual rent for the privilege of playing there, is not allowed to do any work on the pitches.
Bournemouth skipper Chris Park admitted he was “embarrassed” for the club that the game should have to be abandoned, adding: “Unfortunately, I’ll be the first to admit I saw this coming six or seven weeks ago.
“Without going into too much detail, the pre-season preparation – or lack of it – set the alarm bells ringing.
“In my opinion, pre-season pitch preparation has not been up to the standard a decent cricket pitch requires.”
Park feels Bournemouth University should be “held accountable” for the state of the pitch.
A response from a spokesperson at the university said: “We always want the conditions of our sporting facilities to be the best that they can be and apologise that standards have fallen short on this occasion.
“We’re committed to working with the cricket club, ECB and Southern Premier Cricket League to resolve all of their concerns, and are in constant dialogue with them, including an emergency pitch inspection with the ECB where advice was given, which we are looking to implement this week, as well as a joint action plan to ensure that high quality cricket can continue on the site this season.”
Lions’ next next two SPL matches are away, however Chapel Gate is due to host Bournemouth’s second XI against Parley this Saturday.