Worcestershire give New Road the go-ahead
Worcestershire have given the go-ahead for New Road to host their next Championship game, against Lancashire starting on Friday, in spite of the recent flooding that caused the complete abandonment of their last home fixture against Kent.
Following a meeting at New Road involving representatives from both Worcestershire and Lancashire, as well as the ECB's Alan Fordham and Chris Wood, it was decided that the ground would be fit for an 11am start on Friday morning.
The decision is something of a surprise given the controversy that was caused by last week's washout against Kent. Although the ECB acted with leniency in what they described as "exceptional circumstances", the decision to allow Worcestershire to replay the abandoned fixture was vehemently opposed by Yorkshire, who feared that a dangerous precedent had been set.
Lancashire and Hampshire also backed Yorkshire's stance on the decision. "It was a flawed decision and creates a precedent," said a Lancashire statement, "opening the floodgates for future situations deemed 'extreme circumstances'. We therefore urge the ECB to reconsider this decision."
However, Lancashire's chief executive, Jim Cumbes, was more conciliatory after Monday's inspection. "On arriving at New Road this morning I was surprised at how well everything looked," he said. "It's obvious that the staff at Worcestershire County Cricket Club have worked very hard over the last few days to get this ground and its facilities up to the standard they are.
"There were one or two minor issues I had with the outfield," added Cumbes, "but nothing a couple of days of drying weather won't fix."
Worcestershire did have alternative venues on standby - at Kidderminster, Himley and Worcester Royal Grammar School, where a game against Sri Lanka A was played on Saturday. The forecast for Friday is more heavy rain.