IT is now more than two weeks since the season ended, and still we are waiting.

Waiting to find out whether Somerset’s emphatic victory over Middlesex will indeed be enough to keep them in Division One.

Waiting to see whether a case which should have been resolved weeks ago could in fact rumble on until 2019.

And, above all, waiting on the ECB to decide whether, for the second year running, a county will be consigned to relegation from a boardroom rather than on the cricket field.

It is ludicrous that it has got to this stage at all given Middlesex’s match with Surrey, on which this controversy rests, concluded on August 31.

Perhaps at the time Middlesex hoped the points deduction would become irrelevant, as it may have done had they put half as much effort into saving the game in Taunton on day four as they did into complaining about the pitch thereafter.

Equally, the ECB – who originally told Middlesex there were no grounds for an appeal, which was accepted by the club – would have possibly assumed, at the time of the deduction, that it would not come back to prove pivotal come the end of the season and could have been safely forgotten about.

Hopes and assumptions are not good enough for a governing body in a professional sport, however, and this case has shown their procedures to be inadequate.

For such an illustrious and heritage-filled sport enjoyed by so many, county cricket has an uncanny knack of shooting itself in the foot.

Whether it’s questionable bad light interruptions, scheduling which takes the County Championship out of the summer months or – aptly in this case – denying spectators a full day’s play through slow over rate, there are issues which need to be ironed out.

This case is the latest example, and it is remarkable that a second successive relegation battle is being decided in the corridors of power at the ECB rather than through matters on the field. ‘The league table doesn’t lie’ is one of the oldest phrases in sport but, in cricket at least, it seems the governing body can decide whether it’s telling porkies.

Somerset’s stance is refreshing. In a welcome change of attitude to earlier in the season, when the County Gazette were not permitted entry to a members’ Q&A, the latest exchange between supporters and club hierarchy was broadcast live on Facebook and threw up some intriguing exchanges.

Lee Cooper, who was fielding the questions in his relatively new role as CEO, is rapidly winning over the Somerset faithful with his honesty, passion and staunch refusal to accept a change in the current scenario regarding which division his side will be playing in next season.

As he pointed out, had Somerset known they needed two more points they would have approached the season finale differently – one of several parts of what would make a strong case should legal action be required.

Middlesex’s, meanwhile, seems to be based on what umpires may or may not have told them regarding a points deduction at the end of the match at The Oval and a hypothetical declaration that had not yet been made when the game was halted. There is no guarantee they would have made up the required overs.

An arrow being fired on to the pitch is, of course, unprecedented, but to say the arrow relegated Middlesex is wide of the mark.

What relegated Middlesex was a combination of their slow over rate in the first innings and a lack of points across the other 13 County Championship matches they played between April and September. Had one or two of their batsmen shown the gumption of James Hildreth in Taunton a fortnight ago, none of these conversations would have had to take place.

What is also concerning is the lack of trust which now exists between Somerset and the ECB. In the words of Lee Cooper, "the conversations [with the ECB] started with them saying 'Middlesex have no right of appeal' and that was quite conclusive.”

He then added: "We have reassurances - albeit not guarantees - from the ECB that they need to be seen to be going through a process but that we have nothing to worry about. But having said there was no right appeal and now there being an appeal, we are not trusting that.”

That cannot be a healthy relationship for the ECB to have with one of its leading counties but, having relegated Durham last year after encouraging them to make ground improvements and ‘rewarding’ them with sub-par Tests, that is not altogether surprising.

A solution which has been offered up is relegating neither Middlesex or Somerset, instead reverting back to a nine-team top division.

It is not as simple a resolution as has been suggested in some quarters, however. For one thing, there would remain 14 matches, so everyone would not play everyone else home and away (as is currently the case in Division Two), and the schedule is unlikely to be able to switch to 16 matches at this short notice.

This could easily cause further issues down the line - if there are whipping boys or runaway leaders, as there have been this year, is it fair for some teams to only play either side once?

Whichever way the upcoming decision goes, the fact it has become a drawn out saga in the first place is a great shame for the clubs, players and supporters involved, who can only hope next season will conclude at the end of the scheduled fixture list rather than nearer the release of the following campaign’s.