County news February 6, 2012

Northamptonshire call off South Africa trip

ESPNcricinfo staff

Northamptonshire have decided to cancel their pre-season trip to South Africa, due in part to "challenging economic conditions", despite reporting a £22,000 profit for 2011. Chief executive David Smith said that with several of the county's players wintering abroad, the proposed training camp was not necessary.

The small surplus represented a turnaround from 2010, when Northants registered a £32,000 loss. Despite that, the county experienced a slight fall in turnover for the financial year up to 30 September 2011, as the wider economic climate affected corporate spending and advertising. Counties are braced for a difficult 2012 in which they will have to compete for attention with the London Olympics and football's European Championship, alongside the usual distractions.

"Overall the club is pleased with the progress made during the year and I believe we are well placed to benefit from the investments made," Smith said. "On the cricket front, many of our players at various different stages this winter have enjoyed cricket abroad ... and many more of our younger players have also had spells of cricket out of the country, so we feel we will be very well prepared for our first four-day Championship match of the season on April 5."

"With this in mind and with the current challenging economical trading conditions we recently made the decision that the playing staff would not be spending two weeks in South Africa as previously planned, but would instead, along with a number of other first-class counties, prepare for the coming season in home conditions."

Northamptonshire were helped by receiving a full grant payment from the ECB for 2011, following a facilities audit of Wantage Road. The county said it is still hoping to attract further outside investment in order to fund the acquisition of a left-arm spinner for the coming season.