Yorkshire groundsman Andy Fogarty has pointed to “freak” recent weather conditions after day three of their Specsavers County Championship match with Essex was abandoned without a ball bowled.
Play is yet to start at Emerald Headingley in the clash with the county champions, owing to wet patches on the outfield.
”It’s been the worst pre-season I’ve known in 30-odd years,” said Fogarty.
“It’s just freak conditions. This weather seemed to start in January right up until now.
“We’re trying to prepare pitches and the outfield, and you get one good day in between seven or eight days of rain. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s really frustrating for us as well as players and spectators.
“It’s just in certain areas that it’s stopping us.
“It’s not the whole of the bottom end, only certain areas where the players will be running in and fielding. The last thing we want is players getting injured.
“We can cover the main square up and put the mobile covers on the pitch we will use. The rest of the outfield is left to its own devices.
“We rely a lot on the drainage, but we’ve had so much rain. The water table is really high anyway, so it’s not draining away or evaporating.
“We usually have some warmth at this time of year, but we’ve not been getting that. They’re cold days. There’s just no drying weather.
“We had the Leeds/Bradford game abandoned because of the weather, and it looks like we’re going the same way in this game.”
Questions have been posed regarding the possibility of the new South Stand reconstruction work having an impact on the drainage, a theory both Fogarty and chief executive Mark Arthur have dispelled.
“No (the new stand hasn’t had any impact),” said Fogarty.
“We’ve just been unfortunate and hit a bad spell of weather and not escaped it. Everybody is suffering around the country.”
Arthur said: “I can reiterate that there have been absolutely no issues with our drainage system.
“The recent bad weather has made for challenging conditions for our ground staff.
“The reason for the delays are that the ground has seen unprecedented wet weather over the past few months. If you couple this with low temperatures on drier days, the ground has had no chance to fully recover.
“Ultimately, the prime concern for the umpires has to be the health and wellbeing of the players.”
As Fogarty said, the likelihood of play on day four is doubtful, with Yorkshire’s next match here against Nottinghamshire, starting on Friday.
“A lot can happen between now and the Notts game on Friday,” he added. “There’s some really good weather forecast, so hopefully we should be good to go.”