Worcestershire CCC have announced a post-tax surplus of £449,426 for the financial year ending December 31, 2017.  This compares with a surplus of £428,673 for the previous 12 months period.

But, although the accounts for the year ended 31st December 2017 show a seemingly strong profit, the underlying position remains loss making.

However, the last two years have shown steady progress in improving the club’s financial position.

Both 2017 and 2016’s results were flattered by exceptional items.

In both years additional distributions of £500,000 were received from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which the club has treated as income.

Excluding these amounts results in an underlying loss of £50,574 for 2017 and loss of £71,327 for 2016.

In 2015, as previously reported, the results were boosted by a successful miss-selling claim – without which Worcestershire  CCC’s underlying loss would have been £181,621.

Audit Group Chairman Fanos Hira commented: “Although the improvement in 2017 looks on the face of it relatively modest at £20,753, this is after a very substantial increase in cricket wages of £406,842 during the year.

“Therefore the underlying improvements have been substantial. There, of course, remains challenges ahead, but the platform or legacy created from  former CEO Tom Scott is a strong and improving one.”

A home semi-final against Surrey in the Royal London One-Day Cup also helped overall match receipts to increase by £147,726 to £458,322 in the year.

There was also an £40,235 increase in membership income to £442,458 – a rise of 10 per cent which Mr Hira stated was “pleasing in challenging economic times and hopefully sustainable”.

The catering turnover has increased dramatically with a modest improvement in the loss in 2016 of £64, 351 reduced to £19, 225 to 2017.

This incorporated the start-up costs in refurbishing and creating Foley’s coffee house and eatery. This remains an area of focus in the coming year.

The performance of the commercial side of the club resulted in strong initiatives in terms of major sponsorship deals.

Mr Hira said that “lessons have been learnt from the historic concert hosting with improvements expected in the coming year” .

The club’s financial statement in the 2018 ANNUAL REPORT reads: “The underlying loss has markedly reduced, reflecting the increased focus under CEO Tom Scott’s leadership on catering and commercial activities, lower levels of interest rates on debt and reduced costs.

“However, there remains plenty of challenges ahead…..we continue to focus on cost reduction in the business and seeking additional income from our assets.

“The club’s focus will be on proving its return on its enviable facilities and reducing its debt levels so that more can be put back into cricket operations.”