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Recent Match Report – Bears vs Derbyshire North Group 2021

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Derbyshire 170 for 5 (Wood 63*, du Plooy 57) beat Birmingham 167 for 9 (Pollock 46, Scrimshaw 3-23) by five wickets with five balls remaining

A large-scale pitch invasion marred the end of the T20 Blast game between Birmingham Bears and Derbyshire at Edgbaston.

Several hundred spectators – mainly students attending as part of a promotion – ran on to the pitch at the end of the match. While there was no sign of any malicious behaviour, the scale of the incursion may cause repercussions for a sport currently making a case for greater crowd numbers at games.

Ironically the student event was named ‘Invades’. The promotion promised ‘free flowing pints’ and ‘exclusive drinks deals’.

No players were hurt – or even approached – though several stewards and some of the groundstaff did become involved in altercations as they tried to prevent spectators, many of whom were wearing fancy-dress, running on to the outfield. In the time of Covid, such behaviour is likely to make authorities uneasy.

Edgbaston is one of the grounds that has just been included as part of a pilot event for the limited-overs series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. At least 50 percent capacity had been expected at those games, though that has yet to be confirmed. There appears to be a genuine concern at Warwickshire, at least, that this incident could have compromised those plans.

“The behaviour of a small number of students after the match finished was disgraceful,” Stuart Cain, Warwickshire’s chief executive, told ESPNcricinfo in a statement.

“The organiser behind their attendance was well aware of social distancing requirements and these were communicated to everybody who bought a ticket. They were then enforced as best as possible on the evening by stewards who worked incredibly hard to manage their behaviour. Messages were repeatedly broadcast over the PA system and screens, and pitch invaders ejected. They will receive a life ban if identified.

“With society having spent the last 15 months managing the pandemic, to see a small number of people behaving in this way is heart-breaking. We apologise to the majority of spectators who respected social distancing measures. I will not let this company or crowd come to Edgbaston again.”

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