SOMERSET'S status as a Division One club has been confirmed after the ECB announced they have upheld Middlesex's two-point deduction.

Middlesex lodged the appeal last week after being docked two points for a slow over-rate in their match against Surrey at The Oval which was abandoned when an arrow was fired on to the outfield.

A statement released this afternoon (Tuesday) by the Cricket Disclipline Commision Chairman Tim O'Gorman said: “It is in the interests of the whole game that arrangements are put in place to prevent slow over rates, and it is noted that the requirement of 16 overs per hour is a minimum rate.

“The rules relating to over rates are clear and understood by all teams, coaches, players, and captains.

"Although it may be common practice that teams will seek to make up time later in a match, even in the second innings, if they seek to do this they must also be aware that approaching their over rate in such a way carries with it an inherent risk.

"If, for any reason, they are unable to make the time up, the appropriate sanction will be imposed.

"Middlesex have sought to argue that it was only because of the abandonment of the game that they did not make up their overs but that cannot be entirely correct.

"There was no guarantee that, if the game had run its normal course those overs could ever have been made up.

“I do not accept that Middlesex only agreed to the abandonment of the match on condition that their slow over rate in the first innings would be overlooked.

"It is not within the power or gift of either the umpires or the players to make deals like that. The match was abandoned for safety reasons. Play ended accordingly and the points earned or deducted should stand with effect from that time."

Somerset CEO Lee Cooper said: “We were confident that the ECB’s original decision would stand and we are delighted with the outcome.

“We are pleased that this has now been put to rest and we can concentrate on preparing for next season in the First Division of the Specsavers County Championship.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ECB for the swift resolution of this matter.”

Somerset finished the season one point clear of Middlesex after defeating them in Taunton in their final match of the season, so a reversal of the points deduction could have had grave consequences in the Westcountry.

Cooper last week outlined the club's intention to pursue legal action against the ECB were the decision to be reversed but, as it has transpired, there will be no need for such action to be taken.

Somerset can now fully begin preparing for their 11th consecutive season as a Division One side without any uncertainty hanging over them, with new director of cricket Andy Hurry soon to be joining up with head coach Jason Kerr.