Invitation League opening day is a wash-out

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THE opening week of the West Sussex Invitation Cricket League was rained off on Saturday when not even a single ball was bowled in any of the 11 divisions.

Heavy rain throughout last week and on Saturday caused the cancellation of every match.

It is the first time in the Invitation League’s history that not one ball has been bowled on the opening weekend of the season.

In 1992, the first full weekend of fixtures was washed out on May 9 but some clubs had requested to start their campaigns early and, on May 2, three matches went ahead in each division.

And, in 1994, on May 7, the first weekend of fixtures was almost completely cancelled. In total, 15 of the 16 scheduled fixtures were washed out but Findon managed 30 overs on their artificial wicket against Ifield when they reached 99-3, with John Rogers unbeaten on 50, before play was stopped.

But the next two weeks of the 1994 season on May 14 and 21 were both washed out – as was the fifth week of the season on June 4. And, on the third week of that season, on May 28, two of the 16 matches were called off owing to waterlogged pitches as five 2nd XI teams did not play a single game in the first five weeks of the season.

The most extreme weather disruption occurred back in 1979, the Invitation League’s first year in existence, when there was snow on the opening weekend in May.

Two games still went ahead, however, between Arundel and Broadwater’s 1st and 2nd XI, though a misunderstanding of the rules meant the 1st XI game had to later be replayed.