New Road flood may force switch of Notts Championship home game

BBC Sportin Cricket

Worcestershire may be forced to move their first home game following the customary flood problem at New Road.

Worcestershire's players managed to find a one dry corner of the New Road outfield for their pre-season photocall

Over two-thirds of the outfield is currently under water following prolonged heavy rain throughout March.

Although they had been scheduled to start with two away games, to avoid such an eventuality, the first County Championship home game on 27 April against Nottinghamshire is now at risk.

"I hoped we wouldn't be affected much," said chief executive Matt Rawnsley.

"But the water has come up quite a bit in the last 24 hours. And we expect the levels to peak on Friday."

Promoted Worcestershire start their Championship campaign with two games, against Hampshire at Southampton and Somerset at Taunton, before the scheduled visit of fellow-promoted side Notts.

If New Road is still unfit, it is expected that the game would be switched to either Flagge Meadow - home of Worcester Royal Grammar School - or Chester Road, Kidderminster, which has long been one of the county's most popular 'outgrounds' and was officially upgraded to become their second home following the big flood of 2007.

"The square is about a third under water and the outfield, which is slightly lower, is two-thirds under," added Rawnsley.

"The groundstaff like to have three weeks to prepare once the flood waters have receded, so we'll look again in the middle of next week.

"But we have some contingencies in place that we can go to other grounds."

They cannot switch fixtures with Nottinghamshire as the return Championship game at Trent Bridge in late June is scheduled as a day/night game.

Flooded with facts

  • Although the River Severn runs right past New Road, the flooding is actually activated a mile downstream where it meets its tributary, the Teme, from where excess water is sent back over the flood plain beyond the Diglis End of the ground and back up through the drains.
  • The flood in June 2007, when New Road lost all its home games over the second half of the season, was actually only the second worst - in terms of height - in the ground's 118-year history.
  • In the clean-up operation in 2007, the outfield was strewn with sewage. Some of the boundary boards floated off and were found a mile away.
  • Home games were hosted at short notice at grounds as far apart as Edgbaston, Kidderminster, Derby and even Taunton, over 100 miles away.
  • Himley Cricket Club and Flagge Meadow were also scheduled to host home limited-over matches - but both were 'rained off'.
  • Since 2007, Kidderminster, 14 miles up the A449, has been the main stand-by option if New Road floods during the season, although Flagge Meadow has also had increasing use.
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