PERSISTENT overnight rain led to day one of the Sunfoil Four Day Series match between the Dolphins and Titans at Kingsmead being called off at lunch yesterday.
While the day dawned grey and overcast, the rain had abated, even allowing the sun to make a rare appearance, but the damage had been done.
Umpires and officials inspected the field throughout the morning and while the wicket was good, the outfield had taken the brunt of the rain.
“The wicket is in great shape and has been under the covers for some time. It’s the outfield that’s the problem and it’s too dangerous for the players to play on,” said Kingsmead groundsman Wilson Ngobese.
“We have had 17 days of rain, from drizzle and steady rain, to big thunderstorms,” he said. “On Tuesday night we had another dose of heavy rain and that saturated the outfield. There was no time for it to dry and we could not start the game.”
While appreciating the great drainage at Kingsmead, Ngobese was mindful that in the end, the elements of nature always won.
“Yes, the drainage helps, but the question is, where does all the water go? For more than two weeks, there has been rain every day,” he said. “The ground is completely saturated and reaches a point where it cannot take any more. The water sits in the ground.”
That summed up the scenario at Kingsmead yesterday. Areas of the outfield were soggy underfoot, with the weather needing to clear to enable some recovery ahead of today’s play.
Ironically, once umpires had made the call to send everyone home, the clouds broke and a hot, sunny afternoon greeted Durban.
It’s just what Kingsmead needs, but the question is whether the weather will continue, the key factor being any overnight rain that may have fallen.
“At least there is an opportunity for the field to dry, but the rain has come in the late afternoon and through the evening. Hopefully the sun which we have been given prolongs its visit and allows the teams to take to the field,” said Ngobese.
With a day lost, it seems inevitable that the match will be a draw, unless cricket delivers one of its unexpected moments. For both sides, it’s not the desired result as they desperately need points to mount some sort of challenge in the series.
The Dolphins currently prop up the log, with the Titans one above them, and with R1 million on offer to the winners of the series, the fate of this game could see these side both out of the running.
Today’s play is scheduled to start at 9 am and entry is free.