County Championship: Yorkshire and Essex abandoned without a ball bowled

Essex players in the middle with umpires at Headingley
Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth inform Essex players of the abandonment at Headingley
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Emerald Headingley (day four):
No play possible on day four because of a wet outfield
Match drawn
Yorkshire 5 pts, Essex 5 pts
Scorecard

Yorkshire and Essex's County Championship match at Headingley was abandoned as a draw without a single ball bowled because of a wet outfield.

Umpires Ian Gould and Richard Illingworth called off day four shortly after a second inspection at 10:00 BST.

Yorkshire head groundsman Andy Fogarty described recent conditions in Leeds as "the worst in 30 years I've known".

"This weather seems to have started since January right until now," Fogarty told BBC Radio Leeds.

"We're trying to prepare pitches, trying to prepare the outfield and you get one good day in between seven or eight days of rain, there's just nothing you can do.

"We rely a lot on the drainage, but unfortunately when there's so much rain, the drainage can't cope. The water table's really high anyway so it's not draining away."

It is the first time since 1967 that play on every day of a Championship match has been lost at the ground.

Headingley
It was dry at Headingley on Monday, but the outfield remained too wet for play

After no rainfall on the first two scheduled days, Essex assistant head coach Dimitri Mascarenhas questioned the commitment to getting play on.

"The players are champing at the bit to get out there," he told BBC Essex at the end of the third day.

"As you've seen, there's not many people out on that ground trying to make it playable. Nobody's really doing anything to move it along, they're just waiting."

Defending champions Essex will hope to get their season started at home against Lancashire on Friday while Yorkshire are due to host Nottinghamshire at Headingley on the same day.

"We should be fine because the forecast is good for the week," said Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale. "Someone told me it's going to be warmer than Ibiza this week!

"That's the sort of weather we need to dry the ground off. If that comes, we'll be fine. I am confident it will go ahead.

"The outfield has got better, but only slowly. We just haven't had any drying weather."

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