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Vitality Blast: Essex-Gloucestershire fixture washed out again

PUBLISHED: 08:43 11 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:43 11 August 2018

Dark clouds over the Cloudfm County Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Dark clouds over the Cloudfm County Ground (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

For the fourth time in succession, Essex and Gloucestershire had to settle for a point apiece from a rain-affected T20 fixture.

Umpires and captains in conversation about the condition of the outfield (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)Umpires and captains in conversation about the condition of the outfield (pic Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Three weeks ago, their scheduled meeting at Cheltenham was abandoned when Essex’s innings was interrupted by the first serious precipitation of the campaign. The same thing happened at Bristol last season, followed by the televised game at Chelmsford being finally called off without a ball being bowled, even though a toss had just taken place for a five-over thrash.

They gave up on this latest attempt to play a Vitality Blast game, in front of a sold-out crowd at The Cloudfm County Ground, just after the latest inspection at 7pm, the scheduled start time.

After several outbreaks of torrential rain during the afternoon and early evening, umpires Paul Pollard and Tim Robinson had “serious concerns about the outfield” and announced the final inspection.

Gloucestershire will be the more disappointed in having to settle for a no-result as they would have hoped to have feasted on an Essex side bottom of the south group with just one win in 11 games.

The visitors were in cracking form after rattling along at 12 an over on Thursday night while recording their seventh victory in nine games, beating Middlesex by 70 runs. Ian Cockbain led the way, smashing eight sixes in a career-best 123 from 61 balls.

Gloucestershire head back to Bristol for Sunday’s game against Surrey on the brink of rising from the ashes of bottom place a year ago to qualification for this season’s knock-out stages.

Essex, meanwhile, go to Hampshire for a dead rubber encounter between two sides fighting to avoid the ignominy of landing the wooden spoon.

Ravi Bopara said: “We have been trying some new things, which in a way haven’t come off this year – but it’s all about learning for next year now.

“We’ve addressed some of our problems, and we had good plans today, funnily enough. We sat down and talked about how we wanted to change things, how we want to play T20 cricket – unfortunately we weren’t able to go out and do it today.

“These next three games we almost say, ‘right, treat these games as a new competition for us, our own little personal competition’. That is the plan now and see what we can get out of them, see if we can learn, see if we can improve, see if that results come out the way we want them to.”

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