The Worcestershire flood saga July 11, 2007

New Road match rescheduled by ECB

Cricinfo staff

Mark Newton: 'The bottom line is that we are a business and we have to ensure our financial future' © Getty Images
Worcestershire's abandoned County Championship fixture against Kent at New Road has been rescheduled for the end of July, and their floodlit Pro40 fixture against Hampshire on Friday will now be played at the County Ground in Derby, after the ECB exercised discretion in their enquiry into last week's washout.

Following the devastating floods that left Worcestershire's ground under water for several days, the ECB recognised that "exceptional efforts" had been made by the club to get the match underway, including the recruitment of an army of volunteers to clean away the detritus. Kent had offered to host the game at Beckenham well in advance of the start of the match, but Worcestershire declined, and provided assurances that the ground would be fit for first-class cricket by July 8.

The ECB concluded that Worcestershire's decision to go ahead with the match had been made in "good faith" but was "highly optimistic". "The board recognised the exceptional circumstances and the severe financial issues caused to Worcestershire CCC by the flooding, [but] the opinion of the match officials present at the ground was that there was serious doubt that the playing area would be fit in time for the NatWest Pro40 match scheduled for July 13."

"The object was to try and get cricket played on Friday," Mark Newton, Worcestershire's chief executive, told Cricinfo. "The day/night game is one of the most important matches of the year for the club. Other than the financial considerations we have a contract to keep with Sky Sports. The bottom line is that we are a business and we have to ensure our financial future."

"Despite all the best efforts of my colleagues and the members who volunteered to help last week, we cannot 100% guarantee that the outfield will be playable. This match is scheduled as the competition opener so it must be played and we feel, in consultation with the ECB, that this is the best way."

On July 3 it was decided that the ECB would allocate £75,000 to assist in the restoration of New Road, but Worcestershire face further losses if they cannot get the ground back to working order soon. The ECB have advised the county to prepare contingency plans for their next home Championship match against Lancashire which is scheduled to get underway on July 20.

Worcestershire's rematch with Kent will begin on July 30, but will involve a mid-match trip to Chelmsford on August 2, when Worcestershire are scheduled to take on Essex in a televised Pro40 match.