Marsh Sheffield Shield 2019-20
Bizarre delay forces early lunch in Shield clash
Match between Western Australia and Tasmania is halted by a small fire out the back of the WACA Ground players' pavilion
10 October 2019, 04:19 PM AEST
Play on the opening day of the Marsh Sheffield Shield match at the WACA Ground in Perth was suspended just before lunch after a small fire started behind the players’ pavilion.
As Tasmanian quick Jackson Bird ran in to bowl the fifth ball of the 26th over of the day, smoke was spotted coming out of the back of the pavilion and Umpire Nathan Johnstone signalled dead ball.
After Bird had walked back to his mark, Umpire Johnstone stopped play again before he walked towards the bowler to retrieve the ball. The rest of the players stood in their positions, seemingly unaware as to why play had been halted.
Square leg umpire Paul Wilson spoke to the Tasmanian fielders as they huddled in the middle of the ground before all 13 players and the two officials left the ground, with the umpires calling lunch at 12.25pm local time, five minutes before the scheduled interval.
After players left the field, sirens could be heard in the distance as the fire department attended the scene.
An air conditioning unit at the back of the pavilion caused the small blaze, which was quickly brought under control.
"Fire services are on site and have assessed the situation," the WACA said in the statement.
"Players have been allowed back into the Pavilion for lunch."
Play resumed at 1.10pm local time after the lunch break.
Almost two years ago, a Shield match in Brisbane was delayed by around 30 minutes when NSW spinner Nathan Lyon inadvertently set off a fire alarm when he burnt a piece of toast. The alarm forced the evacuation of the Stuart Law Stand, which houses both teams, the scorers and the media.
Nine months earlier, New Zealand's Test against South Africa was stopped for around 15 minutes when an emergency alarm at Dunedin's University Oval forced a full venue evacuation.
And in 2016, a fire alarm during a match in Townsville between Australia A and South Africa A also led to play being temporarily halted.