Middlesex accept relegation after appeal is rejected

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Middlesex will definitely play Division Two cricket in the County Championship next season after their appeal against a two-point penalty which effectively relegated them was rejected.

The 2016 champions were punished for a slow over-rate during August’s game with Surrey at The Oval, which was abandoned on the final evening after a crossbow bolt was fired into the ground.

Middlesex had taken their case to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), arguing the early finish prevented them from making up the missing overs.

But the chairman of the Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) dismissed the appeal, ruling a hearing was unnecessary as “rules relating to over rates are clear and understood by all teams, coaches, players, and captains.”

Middlesex chief executive Richard Goatley said the club would not seek to challenge the ruling.

“Whilst we still believe the imposition of the penalty was unjust, we accept the decision of the chairman of the CDC and will move on,” he said.

“We do not believe that any further action is in the interests of Middlesex or the wider game. We will now focus on regaining a place in the first division at the earliest opportunity.”

Middlesex had finished one point below Somerset, who were ready to take legal action if the appeal was successful.

MORE CRICKET: From champions to relegation – seven reasons behind Middlesex’s fall from grace