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Worcestershire confident that New Road flood won't disrupt Championship plans

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Floods cause havoc at New Road (1:02)

Worcestershire may be forced to move their first home game following the customary flood problem at New Road (1:02)

Worcestershire hope to play their first home match of the season at their New Road ground despite several feet of floodwater currently covering the pitch.

Worcestershire are due to host Nottinghamshire in a Division One County Championship match on April 27; a match in which Stuart Broad is scheduled to be available for the visitors.

While Worcestershire do have contingency plans to relocate to the Worcester Royal Grammar School's Flagge Meadow ground as a first alternative, and Kidderminster Cricket Club as a second, they retain hopes that the floodwater will recede and New Road will prove fit for play. They expect to come to a decision by the end of next week when the extent of any damage from the water should have become clear.

"There's a bit more moisture in the pitch that we would like," the club's head groundsman, Tim Packwood, told ESPNcricinfo with a smile. "But the river has peaked now so hopefully over the weekend as the river levels drop, we'll start to see a bit more grass out there.

"The water is only two or three feet deep on the square - as opposed to six foot, as it is normally - and it doesn't look too dirty.

"Ideally I'd like three weeks' preparation time for a game. But if the water doesn't stay on for too long, the plan is to play here on April 27."

Mick Newell, the Nottinghamshire director of cricket, described himself as "pretty relaxed" about the situation and said he expected the clubs to have a chat about the situation towards the end of next week.

It is the third time this winter New Road, a ground situated on a floodplain, has been at least partially flooded. But it is the first time it has happened during the domestic season since 2007. That year, the club won the Pro40 League despite not being able to play a single game at home. Their home games in the competition were instead played at Taunton, Edgbaston and Kidderminster. Another 'home' game, scheduled to be played in Derby, was abandoned due to rain.

They did run into trouble, however, after opting to try and play a home Championship match against Kent at New Road only a week or so after a flood. Despite decent weather, no play was possible over the four days and some felt the club was fortunate to escape disciplinary action from the ECB.

In those days, the floods caused huge damage to the buildings at a charming but somewhat dilapidated venue with Worcestershire reckoning the 2007 floods cost them around 1.2m in lost revenue and clear-up costs. Since, then, however, much of the ground has been redeveloped and the Graeme Hick Pavilion, the club's offices and function rooms and the hotel that looks over the playing area are all well above the water.

In the longer term, the flood has strengthened Packwood's belief that further experimentation into the use of hybrid pitches may prove beneficial. Worcestershire was the first of the 18 counties to lay such a surface in its net area and declared themselves delighted by the results.

With a few shoots of plastic 'grass' sewn into the surface, it is believed grass roots bind around them and grow stronger providing surfaces that not only offer decent pace and carry, but last longer than a normal grass pitch. Around 10 percent of the pitch is plastic and it is hard to tell any difference visually. Warwickshire have already sewn such a surface on the edge of their square, while the MCC are in the process of doing the same thing at Lord's.

But for Packwood, who regularly has to battle challenges that other groundsmen do not, the pitches might prove of particular help.

"We kept our hybrid pitch in play for about six weeks," Packwood said. "It played virtually as true on day one as at the end of week six. The results were really good.

"It would be nice to install one near the middle of the square. It's something we would like to trial. It's gone a little bit quiet from the ECB at the moment, but we need to have it sanctioned so we can play second-team cricket on it and take it from there."