SOUTH Wilts’ final home match of the season against Bashley (Rydal) at Bemerton was abandoned less than an hour after start due to the threat of lightning from a storm brewing on Salisbury Plain.

Acting under ECB weather regulations, umpires John Leckie and Dean Daniels twice took the players off the field before eventually abandoning the 50-over pennant match after 11.4 overs of play, with Bashley 37-2.

It left the guests at South Wilts’ vice-presidents lunch munching their prawn sandwiches without any cricket to watch and a frustrated set of cricketers unable to re-take to the field.

Watching Southern Premier League chairman David Ridley explained: “The decision was entirely down to the umpires who are required by the ECB to put players’ safety first.

“Time was lost due to thunder/lightning and then rain/bad light.

“When play resumed (after the initial stoppage) another clap of thunder and flash of lightning took the players off the field for the ECB recommended 30 minutes.

“This further break in play meant that so much time had been lost in total that the requisite 25 overs would not have been possible in the second innings. The game was therefore abandoned.”

Ironically, the threatened storm did not materialise – but 11 miles away torrential rain swamped Shrewton’s ground and caused the abandonment of the village club’s Hampshire League match with Sarisbury Athletic.

South Wilts captain James Hayward commented: “It was disappointing the game was called off the way it was. We were keen to play as were the VPs lunching in the clubhouse.

“It was fully understood the first time we went off. The umpires have the ultimate say and they believed it could have been dangerous. But, I think when we went off the field the second time, the players and spectators believed we could have stayed out there.

“That said, we appreciate the umpires are responsible for the players safety and they made the call which we have to accept. It was a shame for everyone involved.”

The ‘no result’ means displaced 2015 champions South Wilts will probably finish fourth, but if Bashley (Rydal) win their final match at St Cross Symondians and Burridge are beaten at Havant, Michael Porter’s side could finish runners-up.