Head Groundsman verbally abused at ICC Cup clash

Dave Saltmanin Cricket
Last weekend's Scotland V Ireland Intercontinental Cup game was surrounded in controversy after a leading Irish player launched a stream of abuse at Aberdeen CC Head Groundsman, Ken McCurdie.

ICC chiefs have launched an inquiry after the Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien, who currently plays for Kent, allegedly called McCurdie "s**t". Torrential overnight rain had poured under the covers and left the wicket unplayable at the Mannofield ground.

On the Friday evening there was a celebration evening at the club. Guests from both Scotland and Ireland, the ICC and past and present Aberdeen cricketers watched in horror from around 9:30pm as the heavens opened and the monsoonal rain soon turned the ground into a lake.

Despite the fact that Ken had the square and surrounding outfield covered with 40 metres of sheeting and the mobile covers, water still managed to get underneath and affect the square.

On the Saturday morning Ken and his team took the covers off. They were unable to work on the pitch until the umpires arrived because it was the third day of the match.
Ken spoke to them as soon as they arrived, but as he stood by the square with the umpires and a couple of members of the press, O'Brien was seen making a bee-line for McCurdie and allegedly screamed, "You don't know what you're f***ing doing.," amongst other obscenities. The outburst was heard by both umpires and the reporters. The umpires have reported the incident to the match referee.

McCurdie, who is rated one of the best Groundsmen in the UK, said: "At first I thought the guy was joking and couldn't believe it when he kept hurling the abuse. What annoys me most is that, unknown to me, he had already verbally assaulted members of my ground staff. His behaviour was totally out of order."

"I was subsequently interviewed by various officials as well as the match referee, and the documents and statements recorded have been sent off to the ICC. I did receive an apology from two of the Ireland players,as well as the Ireland Coach and their Team Manager, but it wasn't until Sunday before Mr O'Brien gave me a verbal and hand written apology."

"If the player had a grievance he'd have been better to quietly pull me to one side to have a word, not as he chose, to vent his frustrations in front of the two umpires and members of the press."

The Referee, David Jukes said: "The matter will be fully investigated. The ICC has an official Code of Conduct and treats player behaviour very seriously." The quantity of water that fell on the ground overnight into Saturday made it nigh impossible to keep the wicket dry, regardless of the precautions taken."

Editors comments:- It seems to be a common trait that Groundsmen and Greenkeepers get treated in this way, usually by the opposition, but on occasions by the home club members as well. Fortunately, Ken's case has been highlighted by the press and we hope that the ICC mete out the punishment accordingly.

If you have a similar story of abuse, then we'd like to hear from you. We are happy to name and shame the culprits on Pitchcare. If deemed serious enough we will also write to the said club and governing authority asking for their intervention. To discuss in confidence, please call 01902 824392 or e-mail dave@pitchcare.com
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