The scheduled T20 match for yesterday was one of the most anticipated of the season. A domestic game selling out a venue that the national side failed to do just two weeks before, an occasion that is one of the county circuit’s few money spinners.
Yorkshire vs Lancashire is a bit of a thing, ya see: It is the El Classico of cricket; two sporting institutions separated by more than simply geography. Two burly northern man-tribes sporting their different coloured roses, seemingly destined to be rival for ever more – it is basically He-Man vs Skeletor, with the Pennines replacing Snake Mountain. Only more fearsome, obviously.
So when rain came, didn’t refrain, and drenched Yorkshire’s domain, the punters complained. They probably would have complained anyway, as no-one likes a washout. However, what then rubbed salt into the wounds was the subsequent reading of the small print on the back of their golden tickets:
“NO MONETARY REFUND”.
This is something that hasn’t gone down well.
“Customers can exchange their Lancashire T20 ticket for any remaining games (NatWest T20 Blast, Royal London One Day Cup or one day’s play of an LV= County Championship match) at Headingley this year (excluding all quarter and semi-finals).”
Basically, in Fred’s words, you can swap your Golden Ticket for a ticket of lesser value for the other games that YCCC will be unable to sell out.
I can sympathise with Yorkshire CCC on this one. They are a club struggling to manage their debts, and as mentioned above, they didn’t get a great crowd for the recent Test match, after the national side’s alienation and subsequent non-“reconnection” of those “stakeholders” who are “outside cricket”. They need cash. They budgeted for cash from this fixture. They were given cash by 16,000 odd spectators. They don’t really want to lose that cash.
Of course, in the long term they are put in a very awkward position. Piss off a customer, and you might not see them again. Piss off a Yorkshireman, and you might not see them again AND they’ll whinge on social media. Seriously though, it’s not great practice to alienate your customers. Quite why the ECB and the Natwest T20 Blast competition don’t allow for rescheduling of abandoned matches, is beyond me.
Even the Football Association can do it:
“28.1 In the event of any League Match not being played owing to Football Association Cup Matches, weather or other causes over which neither Club has any control or being ordered to be replayed it shall be played on a date to be mutually arranged, but at the earliest reasonable opportunity. Both Clubs shall notify the Executive of such arrangements within seven days of the postponement being identified, for the approval of the Executive. Any League Match not so arranged shall have it’s date fixed by the Executive.”
So over to you, ECB. Are you telling me that Yorkshire and Lancashire wouldn’t be able to find 3 hours between now and August to catch up on this missed fixture, and simultaneously give 16000 people the opportunity to watch what they’d paid to watch? If matches were open to being rescheduled, Yorkshire in this instance would have been able to operate a more flexible refund policy, in the knowledge that most of the fans would do their best to get to the re-arranged fixture anyway. They wouldn’t lose out on the cash, they wouldn’t lose out on long term fans. ECB: sort it for next season.
(my MS Paint skills aren’t good enough to replace the words “Nathan” with “He-Man” in this image, unforch. Soz.)