Less than a month after Worcestershire announced a £50,000 deal with Kidderminster CC to stage county matches at their ground in the event of New Road flooding again, the old pavilion at Chester Road has been destroyed by fire.

Fireman were called to tackle a blaze in the early hours of Sunday morning but were unable to save the wooden building which had to be demolished as it was unsafe. Police believe the fire was started deliberately.

The structure was built around 1870 at the old Lorne Street ground and subsequently moved with the club to the current venue. It was replaced by a newer building in 1927 and has more recently been used for storing equipment.

A spokesman for the club said that the worst hit would be the 150 youngsters whose kit was all lost in the fire. "We've accumulated a lot over the last few years but it has all gone up in smoke ... the boys need bats, helmets, boxes and pads and the price of those all adds up."