County news March 5, 2009

Surrey save Guildford festival

Cricinfo staff
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Justin Langer drives on his way to a triple hundred during the 2006 festival © Martin Williamson
 
Surrey have confirmed that the Guildford festival will take place in 2009 after fears that it would be scrapped as a result of the local council's withdrawal from a tripartite staging agreement.

The festival, which attracts large crowds throughout - certainly more than there would be were the games held at The Oval - celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2008, but the economic downturn left its future in some doubt.

However, with a large chunk of the county's 10,000 membership coming from south-west Surrey, it was in the club's interests to fight for its survival and Paul Sheldon, the chief executive, met last week with David Hill, Guildford council's CEO, to secure this year's event.

"We know it is a challenging environment and that we may have to cut our cloth accordingly," Guildford CC chairman Neil Snowball told the Surrey Advertiser, explaining that one scheme being looked at was to increase the capacity of the ground.

"It has been a worrying time, particularly as that week is very important to us as a club. But overall it's had a galvanising effect and I think all three parties are probably aware of what we all need to do to make sure the festival continues for a long time to come yet."