Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Council promise to fight for New Road cricket grounds future

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By Aida FofanaBBC News, West Midlands • Phil Wilkinson-JonesLocal Democracy Reporting Service

Dave Harford Aerial shot of the flooded New Road cricket ground Dave Harford

The New Road cricket ground was flooded eight times during the winter

The loss of Worcester’s county cricket ground “would be like having the heart ripped out” of the city, councillors have heard.

New Road cricket ground was hit by eight floods during winter, leaving its future in doubt as the club’s board admitted it was exploring “every option”, including a move away from the venue.

City councillors said they would fight to keep the ground where it was during a meeting on Tuesday.

Worcester City Council’s deputy leader Jabba Riaz said it was “simply inconceivable” to believe that cricket would leave New Road.

He said: “When football left this great city, it was like having a kidney removed, although now returned, the transplant has left scars for life.

“When rugby left the city it was like having a lung punctured and the city hasn’t really been able to breathe easily since.

“If cricket was to leave this city, it would be like having the heart ripped out of this city and from a sporting perspective, it would die.”

Mr Riaz added: “All the years of history, nostalgia, memories and dreams of thousands would be dishonoured and we in this city would forever carry our heads in shame for letting that happen.”

‘A challenge to solve’

Mr Riaz said the council had spoken about the situation with both Worcester’s new MP Tom Collins and Prime Minister Keir Starmer during his visit to the city.

Councillor John Rudge said the cricket ground was “what puts Worcester on the map, not just nationally but internationally”.

He said: “People from all around the world want to come and play cricket at Worcester and follow in the footsteps of the great Sir Don Bradman.

“It’s possible to see this as insurmountable – that the floods have beaten us or we see it as a challenge to solve,” he said.

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