ESSEX and Hampshire were thwarted by the weather at Colchester as rain completely washed out the opening day's play in the County Championship.
In between heavy showers, the sun occasionally appeared as if to mock the groundstaff in their mopping-up operations but, in the end, the umpires decided at 2.50pm that no play was possible.
If, as predicted, the weather is set fair for Monday, Hampshire will seek to make up for lost time and continue their push for promotion.
They currently sit second in the Division Two table, four points behind Worcestershire and a point ahead of Surrey in their quest to claim a top-two spot, which would see them promoted at the end of the season.
Both counties have yet to announce their teams but missing from the Essex team will be 20 year-old left-arm pace bowler Reece Topley.
The fear is that he may have a recurrence of a stress fracture in the back that ruled him out of action for the early part of the season and he is due to have a scan within the next 48 hours.
If that proves the case, it will be a bitter blow for Topley, who has collected 25 wickets at a shade over 20 runs each and is Essex's leading wicket taker in the competition.
He has also played a prominent part in the county's surge towards the quarter-finals of the NatWest t20 Blast competition, although he missed the latest success over Kent at the weekend.
It was the first time in three years that he has not featured in the competition.
Reece Topley is set for a scan to assess his back injury
Reflecting on the washout, Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: "This is a big game for both sides and we feel that we can still catch the top two.
"So to lose the day has been frustrating for everyone but the outfield is saturated so there was no chance of play.
"But there are still three days of cricket and we can still get a result."
Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams said: "It's obviously disappointing that we couldn't get the match under way but when you have the weather we've had, it's not easy for the groundstaff on these outgrounds.
"Now there are only three days available to play this match, it might require some discussion to set up a game although you can still win games in three days if one side does outstandingly well and the opposition has a shocker.
"We'll have to wait and see what happens."