Worcestershire fear repeat of New Road flooding
Nottinghamshire 88 for 2 and 243 (Jones 4-76) drew with Worcestershire 157 (Adams 5-62)
Worcestershire are bracing themselves for flooding at New Road after heavy rain forced the abandonment of their Championship match against Nottinghamshire.
Umpires Michael Gough and Nick Cook decided soon after 9am that torrential overnight rain on top of an already wet outfield would make play impossible but the loss of the last day of a match heading for a draw may be the least of the club's worries.
The Environment Agency has flood alerts in place for the nearby Severn and Teme rivers and a spokesman said: "The Environment Agency is closely monitoring the forecast and rainfall, particularly in Worcestershire, as the river levels are already higher than normal in the rivers Severn, Teme and Avon."
Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale admitted he had his fingers crossed with rain forecast to continue through much of Sunday. "The river levels have risen considerably overnight and we are concerned about the effects that today's rain will have," he said. "There is nothing we can do apart from wait, unfortunately."
Contingency plans are in place to move fixtures to Kidderminster should the worst happen. The next scheduled first-team cricket at New Road is the Clydesdale Bank 40 match against Netherlands on May 7, followed two days later by a four-day match against Surrey, in which England's Kevin Pietersen is due to make his only Championship appearance of the season.
Worcestershire had to switch the final two matches of the 2008 season to Kidderminster after floods in September, although that was a minor inconvenience compared with the previous summer, when no cricket was possible on the ground from mid-June onwards, costing the club around £1 million in clean-up costs and lost revenue, largely from the loss of lucrative Twenty20 fixtures.
New Road has a history of winter floods but the 2007 flood was the first to cause fixtures to be moved since 1969. The following year's repetition had a direct bearing on the decision to demolish the ground's historic Victorian pavilion and replace it with the glass-fronted Graeme Hick pavilion, built on stilts one metre higher than the 100-year highest water level.
"It means that the pavilion can continue to be used for commercial activity but there is nothing we can do to prevent the field flooding if the worst happens," Leatherdale said. "We would try to get the ground ready again as quickly as possible but how long that takes would depend on how badly it floods. A few inches in the car parks would be one thing, the ground under several feet of water quite another matter."
The 2007 flood left a quarter of an inch of silt covering the entire playing surface, which had to be reseeded in its entirety. No cricket was played until the following April.