I feel sorry for a lot of people tonight.
First of all the club, whose hopes of a good attendance at the start of the Chesterfield Festival were dashed. Then there's the players, who will have wanted to get the game on and move into a stronger position in the table. Perhaps most of all the supporters, some of who traveled a considerable distance to be there and found that their best-laid plans had come to naught.
I don't blame the umpires at all. They have to consider everything in making a decision and of paramount importance is the safety of players. It is all well and good to say that there was a club game going on down the road, or a women's match, but there's a difference between playing for fun and for a livelihood. You get one player sustain a major injury from dangerous conditions and there's hell to pay.
I've played in torrential rain to finish a game and on very wet outfields, but that was a choice made to get a game on. The decision is totally different when professionals are concerned, not least what damage it might do to the outfield ahead of the scheduled four-day game this week.
Nor can the protestations of an individual that 'my back garden is fine' hold any weight. Good for you then sir, your drainage does you proud. Yet with respect they aren't playing in your back garden and the umpires can only go with what they have in front of them.
Likewise, to criticise Derbyshire and say 'we shouldn't be using out grounds' is nonsense. A lot of time, money and effort went into upgrading Chesterfield and I would hate to see it disappear from the calendar. A lot of supporters come from that part of the county and south Yorkshire and the festival week is keenly anticipated every year. Yet the club do not own the ground, so can only do so much to protect it, and cannot control the weather. They will, I am sure, have insured the festival, as the income from it will be a major factor in the budget, but it is just one of those things that happens.
What the club could have done better was in their communication. Between ten and eleven this morning, tweets were going out showing the delightful vista at the ground, with nary a comment on the fact that, sun shining or not, the outfield had a lot of surface water. The forecast was, we were told, favourable, but that would have been an opportune time to tell supporters about the surface water and the possibility, even if slight, of delays. People could then have decided whether to risk it or not and it would have saved a number of disgruntled individuals from venting their spleen on social media.
I get the frustration, but it happens, as I have written above. It is not the first and won't be the last match to fall foul of the weather, but some of the knee jerk comments were unnecessary and very unfair. 'You've ruined my day!' said one. Seriously, what do people expect them to do?
The result leaves us in fifth place in a strong group, with our remaining games against the four teams below us (Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham, Leicestershire) and Worcestershire, who we beat so impressively on Friday night.
In short, our destiny still lies firmly in our own hands and it is some time since we were playing for much other than pride at this stage.
Leicestershire away on Friday and then Yorkshire at a hopefully drier Chesterfield next Sunday will make for a special weekend, especially if we can keep the momentum going.
Here's to better luck in the four-day game tomorrow, for which John Sadler has named the following thirteen:
Neither side has won in the four-day game this summer, so perhaps something has to give in the next four days. No news of the visiting side, though they are pretty much down to the 'which eleven can still run?' selection process at this stage, a small staff stretched almost to breaking point.
With rain showers forecast for the next two days, that outfield won't take a lot more and I expect a sadly rain-ruined draw in this one.
With that, I bid you farewell for the evening.
As always, thanks for your interest!