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Third washout in four days blights return of cricket to New Road

Worcestershire's blushes saved but questions remain about ground's viability as their permanent home

A summer downpour forced the game into a reserve day, The Blaze vs Southern Vipers, Charlotte Edwards Cup final, New Road, June 10, 2023

Overnight rain meant Nottinghamshire could not press home their advantage at New Road  •  Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 234 for 3 (Hameed 100, Clarke 73*, Smith 2-31) lead Worcestershire 80 (Fletcher 3-18, Pennington 3-25) by 154 runs
Nottinghamshire's hopes of pushing for a last-day victory were wrecked by the weather during the rain-ruined draw with Worcestershire in the Vitality County Championship encounter at Visit Worcestershire New Road.
Despite the wash-out of two of the first three days, Nottinghamshire were strongly placed, coming into Monday 154 runs ahead. But heavy overnight rain and a steady stream of morning showers dashed any hopes of the players being able to take the field.
Umpires Nigel Llong and Suri Shanmugam carried out a series of inspections. The visitors are entitled to feel frustrated after completely outplaying Worcestershire on Saturday, the only day of play possible.
While Worcestershire avoided any awkwardness on the final day, it was a demoralising end to this first chunk of the County Championship. The final round of the opening block of red ball matches was supposed to be a welcome return to New Road after eight floods over the winter forced them to relocate their first two home games to Kidderminster.
Last month, chief executive Ashley Giles floated the idea of moving the club to a new permanent home because the ground is built on a floodplain which relieves the River Severn, making it extremely susceptible to bad weather. "It's costing us a lot of money," Giles told BBC Hereford and Worcester. "We're going to lose virtually two months of a six-month season. The ground is here to stage cricket, to be a venue for entertainment and hospitality. But conditions are seemingly getting worse."
New Road is due to host its next match on Friday, a Vitality Blast match against Lancashire Lightning. While the ground staff worked relentlessly over the last four days, further inclement weather could affect preparations for that fixture. As a non-Test venue, the Blast is an important part of the club's matchday revenues over a season. The ground will also host a women's ODI between England and New Zealand on June 30.
"A disappointing day in the field, and, ultimately, three disappointing days being back at New Road and not being able to get on the park as well," said Worcestershire head coach Alan Richardson. "It's lovely to be back but four days that we probably don't want to remember for too long."
Nottinghamshire head coach Peter Moores echoed Richardson's frustrations about the weather, while lauding a professional performance from his team. Luke Fletcher was the star performer with the ball but a disciplined attack took full advantage of the seamer-friendly conditions to dismiss the hosts for 80. Then skipper Haseeb Hameed scored an excellent century to press home Nottinghamshire's advantage, with former Worcestershire batter Joe Clarke notching an unbeaten 73.
"It's been frustrating because as soon as we got here and saw the outfield, we knew it was going to be difficult if we got any rain, and we did get rain over three days," said Moores.
"We played brilliantly in the game so credit to the lads. To bowl them out in a session was a fantastic effort, not just the quality of the bowling but the catching that went with it.
"All in all, no complaints there, and were then getting to a very strong position in the game with the partnership between Hameed and Clarke on the second day."