Test Match Sofa
Derbyshire fans angered by ECB insensitivity
By Paul Bolton, County News Correspondent
What should have been the story of the domestic season was almost ruined by a moment of gross insensitivity by the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Derbyshire’s rise from wooden spoonists to LV= County Championship second division champions in two years is a remarkable success story and it deserved to be recognised with the presence of a senior ECB official to present the trophy to captain Wayne Madsen.
But the best that the ECB could come up with was Peter Wright. Peter who? you might ask and many have. Wright is the ECB’s chairman of cricket whose election two-and-a-half years ago led to the resignation of David Smith, then chief executive of Leicestershire and now of Northamptonshire, in protest at his lack of first-class playing experience.
But Wright is also chairman of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire’s arch-rivals from up the A52, whose vigorous recruitment of players from neighbouring counties – James Taylor, Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney from Leicestershire to name just three – has not gone down well in some parts of the Midlands.
Indeed, Wright was booed by Derbyshire supporters who gathered on the Derby outfield after they had beaten Hampshire by six wickets to celebrate their first trophy in 19 years.
Wright tried to make light of the situation by smiling and giving a royal wave, but he should never have been put in that situation by the ECB.
Surely there were other ECB suits available to present the Division Two trophy to Derbyshire? After all, it has been known for more than nine months that September 14 was always going to be the last day of the Championship season.
Warwickshire’s victory against Worcestershire at New Road last week also seemed to take the ECB by surprise, however, and so they had to send Alan Fordham, their first-class cricket operations manager, off to Worcester with a representative from the sponsors to hand over the trophy to Jim Troughton.
The County Championship remains the blue riband event of county cricket and the counties deserve more sensitive treatment and the presence of more senior ECB officials when the silverware is handed out.
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