Somerset headed into their clash against Essex needing a win to secure the title for the first time in their history. In a match that was marred by rain, 17 out of 21 wickets fell to spinners in just 148 overs, as a result of which the hosts came under fire for the nature of the surface they had prepared.
Essex skipper Ryan ten Doeschate had also expressed his frustration with the pitch that had been served up, but revealed that his side would have probably done the same thing had they been in a similar position.
"I've been stressing the severity of how bad that pitch is. They've really taken a risk here by producing this wicket, but I'm sure we would have done as well."
An ECB disciplinary panel has now issued a ruling that the pitch demonstrated 'excessive unevenness of bounce' as a result of which Somerset have been handed a 24-point deduction, 12 of which have been suspended for two years. Consequently, they will start the next season on -12 points.
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This is not the first time Somerset have landed themselves in hot water. They were issued a warning by the ECB for a pitch they had prepared in 2018 for a clash against Lancashire, which ended in under two days. While they escaped a penalty at the time, they were informed in no uncertain terms that any future breaches would result in point deductions.
The County now have two weeks to appeal the ruling by the Cricket Discipline Commission and they revealed in a statement that they intend to wait for the entire report before pondering their next move.