'Steelbacks Showcase' replaces cancelled Derbyshire Falcons T20 Blast clash
The Steelbacks' scheduled Vitality T20 Blast match Derbyshire on Friday night has been cancelled due to Covid issues in the Falcons ranks.
A Derbyshire player tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday night, meaning he and all of his team-mates had to self-isolate.
That caused the abandonment of Derbyshire's LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Essex, and it has now been confirmed Friday's night scheduled Blast clash at Wantage Road has also been called off.
Falcons' final home group game against Yorkshire Vikings, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, has also been cancelled.
The ECB have determined that Derbyshire were 'unable to field a team of a strength appropriate to maintain the integrity of the match and of the competition as a whole'.
Derbyshire are adhering to Covid-19 protocols and managing a number of injuries.
In addition to six injured players, 14 members of Derbyshire’s squad are self-isolating after they were deemed as close contacts of the unnamed team-mate who tested positive for Covid-19.
With the two Vitality Blast fixtures being deemed as having been cancelled, and under Playing Condition 188.8.131.52 The North Group will, therefore, be decided on an average points per completed match basis.
The problem arose after the Derbyshire squad travelled together on a coach for Friday night's Blast fixture at Durham, and chief executive Ryan Duckett said: “This demonstrates how easily the knock-on effects from an isolated case can impact a squad.
"It is unfortunate that, in the one instance in which the club has used a coach to travel to an away fixture, the regular testing returns a positive result and all 14 players on the coach are required to self-isolate.
“It is a disappointing situation for members and supporters, but safety on and off the field must always come first and I’m grateful for the understanding shown by all of the counties involved, as well as the ECB and the public health team at Derby City Council for their continued guidance.
“The club’s medical staff will remain in close contact with all those players who are self-isolating and I would once again like to thank everyone involved in maintaining the safety of players, staff and spectators at Derbyshire.”
Despite the cancellation, there will still be cricket at the County Ground on Friday, as Northants have announced they will instead put on a 'Steelbacks Showcase' on Friday evening, with an in-house T20 match played between teams skippered by Josh Cobb and Graeme White.
All existing eTickets claimed for the Falcons match by season ticket holders and life members remain valid, and will carry over to the new event.
General admission tickets are also now available to book online for £5.
A club statement read: "Friday night will see the County Ground play host to a Steelbacks showcase after the ECB confirmed the Vitality Blast fixture against the Derbyshire Falcons has been cancelled.
"A celebration of Northamptonshire cricket and an opportunity to say thank you to fans for their support over the last 18 months, the T20 exhibition fixture will follow the same format and timings as the original Vitality Blast fixture.
"The two Steelbacks sides, led by Josh Cobb and Graeme White, will feature Steelbacks legends Alex Wakely and Steven Crook, alongside Steelbacks first team players and rising junior talent from the Club’s Talent Pathway."