More torrential rain hits New Road July 20, 2007

Worcestershire suffer second abandonment

Cricinfo staff

The scene isn't quite this bad at New Road this time...yet © Getty Images
For the second consecutive match torrential rain has forced Worcestershire to abandon a Championship game without a ball bowled. This time the clash against Lancashire has been called off on the first day after further rain lashed New Road. Worcestershire are now bracing themselves for their home season being a write-off if the ground floods for a second time.

The band of heavy and thundery rain moved slowly up the country overnight and came to a standstill over the Midlands. The umpires called off play well before the scheduled 11am start and later in the afternoon news came through that the whole match was off.

A statement said: "Due to severe weather and a warning from the environment agency about the impending flooding of Worcestershire's ground it has been decided to abandoned the County Championship match against Lancashire."

"Another flood would probably put us out of action for the remainder of the season," Worcestershire chief executive Mark Newton told Cricinfo earlier. "There are not any flood warnings out for the River Severn or the River Teme but we are monitoring them closely. We are not expecting the ground to flood but clearly it becomes a possibility the longer the rain stays around."

A decision to stage the current Championship match was taken by Worcestershire, Lancashire and the ECB on Monday and Newton says that even if they had relocated to another venue it wouldn't have helped them in this situation.

"No ground in Worcestershire, or the country, could cope with this rain," he said. "There would have been no point moving to an outground because they don't have the same level of covering and hard-standing areas to take the rain.

"We could have staged a full day of cricket here yesterday without any problems. The ground was fully prepared and up to standard but there is nothing we can do about the rain. And another month of this is forecast."

The ECB now face a potentially difficult situation after their decision last week to order a replay of the match against Kent later this month. It has set a precedent and Lancashire, along with Yorkshire and Hampshire, have already registered their protest at the ruling. It has gone before an ECB appeals panel and the outcome is still awaited, but this further torrential rain will put more issues on the table.