For once, the weathermen got their forecast correct and what a washout it was at the weekend. At the time of writing, I heard of possibly two Conference North fixtures that took place - the rest were abandoned with no play possible.

Phone calls were the order of the day to stop teams and umpires travelling, along with pictures of the state of grounds. It was a pity some of the decisions to abandon play were made a little too late to stop some umpires travelling, so maybe a cut-off time should be declared for such a decision to be made. Captains should contact their umpires to see what time they should be setting off to know when to make that decision, but this weekend it did not always happen and umpires had set off. An umpire should be at a ground at least 45 minutes before the scheduled start. Add travelling time to that it could mean an umpire setting off 90 minutes before the start and the same goes for teams.

It was interesting to see the number of times players in the Ashes Test left the ground and a substitute fielder came on. According to MCC law, the umpires shall allow a substitute fielder for a player who is injured or becomes ill during the match, or for any wholly acceptable reason. There did not appear to be any injuries or illness, so I guess there were many ‘wholly acceptable’ reasons and then, of course, ICC playing conditions are different to MCC law.

For a player to leave the field of play he needs to inform the umpire so that they can note the time he left the field. To come back on, the fielder also must notify the umpire he is returning. Two reasons for this are, the umpire needs to know the time he comes on to the field and the other is to stop him being penalised five penalty runs if he fields the ball and has not told the umpire he has returned.

The time off is important, especially if it is a bowler as he cannot bowl until he has been on the field for the length of time he has been off. Jimmy Anderson fell foul of this law in the Test and was told when he returned, he had to wait 11 minutes until he could bowl again. The fielder does not have to wait until the end of the over to come on as they can come on whenever the ball is dead. as long as the umpire is informed.