Hook & Newnham Basics’ opening ECB Southern Premier League match against Bournemouth was abandoned after less than an hour as the Chapel Gate pitch was deemed “unsafe for the players.”

Senior panel umpires Dean Daniels and Huw Evans (who is chairman of the South Coast Panel of Officials) called the match off in the 15th over after Hook’s Harry Warner had been hit in the chest by one of numerous rising deliveries off the rock- hard surface, writes Mike Vimpany.

Hook were 28-4 at this point, with former Minor Counties seamer Dan Conway, bowling at his favoured rugby end of the ground, grabbing three of the wickets.

Bowling cross-seam, the retired Herefordshire seamer was getting excessive bounce off the surface and when he struck Warner in the chest with his second ball of the 15th over the umpires called the captains together and abandoned the match.

Richard Willcock, Sam Lockwood, Harry Robson and Matt Buckingham were the batsmen out, though none of their dismissals could be put down to the pitch.

Bournemouth skipper Chris Park said how “embarrassed” he was that the match should have been called off.

It is only the second time in the league’s 23-year history a match has been abandoned due to an unfit pitch, other than caused by the weather.

“The ground is owned by Bournemouth University, who are responsible for the preparation of the pitches.

The cricket club, which pays a hefty annual rent for the privilege of playing there, is not allowed to do any work on the pitches.

The match will be declared a “no result” though, if precedent is to be followed, Bournemouth can expect a 20- or so points deduction.

Hook & Newnham Basics host Bashley (Rydal) at the KGV on Saturday (1230) and on Sunday visit Middlesex Premier League powerhouse side Richmond in the ECB Royal London Cup.