By Charles Randall
31 October 2012
The hours lost to rain in the LV County Championship, as published by The Cricketer newsletter, offer an all-too-accurate snapshot of the 2012 season. Just as the professionals were frustrated, club cricket suffered its worst weather for a very long time, no doubt with financial damage to match when the sums are done during the close season.
Few leagues, if any, will have statistics stretching back far enough but the gut feeling must be that this was the worst in living memory, and County Championship experience offers some evidence.
Andrew Hignell, Glamorgan's scorer and statistician, gathered figures of hours lost to weather in the Championship since 2000, estimating that this year's programme was reduced by well over 14,000 overs. Regrettably his published research did not extend further back, though it is hard to remember any seasons since the 1970s that would have been wetter than 2012.
Writing in The Cricketer newsletter, Hignell said: "The so-called summer of 2012 was, from a meteorological point of view, the wettest for 100 years. As far as county cricketers were concerned, moreover, it was the dampest since the County Championship was split into two divisions for the start of the 2000 season."
"During this time an average of 555 playing hours have been lost each year in the four-day competition, equating to around 8,880 overs not being delivered. The summer of 2011 was, rather ironically, the driest during this period with just 277 playing hours lost, while the wettest had previously been 2000 when 774 playing hours were lost. However, this total was surpassed last summer as a grand total of 890 hours were washed away by the record levels of precipitation, leading to the loss of around 14,240 overs."
"Little surprise, therefore," Hignell added, "that so few batsmen reached an aggregate in excess of 1,000 runs in Championship cricket, and a below par number of bowlers claimed 50 or more wickets."
At recreational level, many clubs are still counting the cost of a dramatic drop in bar income, match fees and general enthusiasm, caused by the rain, and this year's spate of metal thefts came as an unwelcome additional setback for a few of the unluckiest clubs. Competitions such as county cups were affected by postponments, bowl-outs, coin tossing and walk-overs.
At least York CC did not have to worry about any weather as they capped a momentous season by clinching their third trophy of the year in the Kiss Mix Lady Taverners Charity T20 Tournament at the La Manga Club in October. They enjoyed the Spanish sunshine, trouncing Norwegian opposition by 153 runs in their seventh match, the tournament final, and adding the title to their Yorkshire Premier League and Kingfisher Beer Cup successes. The York players rounded off the week by playing alongside a Lord’s Taverners Legends XI, featuring Mike Gatting and several other top cricket names, in a charity match on the final day. Part of the reward for winning the National Cup was this Kingfisher-sponsored trip to Spain.
Playing time lost in the LV=County Championship
Year Hours lost