Somerset docked 12 points for 'poor' pitch against Essex in title decider at Taunton

Somerset and England spinner Jack Leach took five of the 21 wickets that fell in the 148 overs bowled in the rain-affected match at Taunton
Somerset and England spinner Jack Leach took five of the 21 wickets that fell in the 148 overs bowled in the rain-affected match at Taunton

Somerset have been docked 12 points after being found guilty of preparing a "poor" pitch for last season's County Championship decider against Essex.

A hearing at Lord's found the wicket prepared for the game in September had "excessive unevenness of bounce".

The total 24-point penalty, the other 12 suspended for two years. will take effect in the 2020 season.

Somerset have 14 days to appeal against the decision by the England and Wales Cricket Board commission.

A statement on the club website said: "Somerset await the full report from the cricket discipline commission before considering our next course of action."

Somerset drew their rain-affected Division One match against Essex, a result which secured the visitors the Championship title.

Following an investigation, Somerset were charged with a breach of the regulation which requires that: "Each county shall actively seek to prepare the best quality cricket pitch that it can for the match that it is staging".

Somerset accepted a pitch rating of "poor" was correct, but pleaded not guilty to a second element of the charge that the Taunton surface "was not the best quality pitch that Somerset was able to prepare for the match".

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