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Worcestershire to play opening County Championship fixture at Kidderminster

Yas Rana by Yas Rana
@Yas_Wisden 3 minute read

Worcestershire are set to play their first home County Championship fixture of the season at Kidderminster Cricket Club after heavy flooding over the winter has rendered their usual home ground New Road unusable for the start of the season.

In Worcestershire chairman Fanos Hira’s ‘Chairman’s Report’ for 2019, Hira explained that flooding was becoming increasingly problematic for the county. “2019 was not helped by the disruption caused by flooding,” wrote Hira. “Whilst regrettably these issues are not unprecedented, the increased regularity, on the face of it, is of concern. Since the end of October 2019 our ground, at the time of writing, has been under water for 62 days.  Since 1899 there has only been three occasions that we have flooded five times in a calendar year – in 2007, 2012 and 2019.”

The increased frequency of the flooding also has serious financial implications for the county, particularly when it occurs mid-season. The county’s move to Kidderminster in 2019 – where they played two County Championship fixtures – is estimated to have cost the county in the region of £250,000. Off season floodings cause less financial damage, costing Worcestershire around £60,000-70,000.

As flooding is a problem that is likely to, at best persist and at worst increase in frequency, Hira is keen to make sure that the club is not reliant on any external financial support in the event of future mid-season flooding.

Hira wrote: “Due to the assistance from the ECB and our insurance policies, our results were not negatively impacted by flooding in 2019.  That said we cannot continue to rely upon others to assist us. As I stated last year, “I am keen under my Chairmanship that we have sufficient flexibility and reserves to make sure we are never beholden to anyone.”

“We are close to being at that point, due to impressive debt reduction over the last three years, but not quite yet. Our focus in the next year is to mitigate the losses of flooding by making sure our cellars, retail, disability access and museum are all above the flood plain.”

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