The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today agreed for Warwickshire and Essex to swap their home and away fixtures in the Specsavers County Championship following the recent flooding of Blackfinch New Road, Worcester.
With Edgbaston currently unavailable for domestic cricket due to the fact that it is hosting matches in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, Warwickshire had agreed terms with Worcestershire to use Blackfinch New Road as the home venue for the game with Essex starting on Saturday 13th July. However, this match will now be played at The Cloudfm County Ground with the return match to start at Edgbaston on Tuesday 10 September.
Alan Fordham, ECB Head of Cricket Operations (First Class), said: “There are extreme circumstances behind this switch of venue and the combination of Edgbaston hosting ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup matches and the unfortunate situation at Worcester has forced us to review all options and this outcome is the only practical solution for these two counties as well as their Members and supporters.
Normally we wouldn’t ask Warwickshire to host a County Championship match so close to the Vitality Blast Finals Day on 21 September as we always aim to provide as much preparation time as possible but we have been assured that this will not have an adverse impact on Warwickshire’s ability to host this prestigious event”
Neil Snowball, Chief Executive at Warwickshire CCC, said: “We were looking forward to holding our home match against Essex at Blackfinch New Road in July and Matt Rawnsley and his team have been extremely accommodating. However, as soon as we saw the images of the recent flooding we knew this would be a challenge and started to look at alternative options. I have been in regular contact with Matt over the last 10 days, offering our support but also talking through the likelihood of continuing with the fixture in Worcester and ultimately this proved impossible despite the best efforts of everyone concerned.
“We’re very grateful to the ECB and also to Derek Bowden and his team at Essex for their support and understanding while considering our options for what was, in effect, already a contingency venue. We look forward to the trip to the The Cloudfm County Ground on 13 July and the return fixture in September.”
Derek Bowden, Essex Cricket Chief Executive, said: “Having discussed the options with the ECB, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, the sensible decision is to swap the fixtures to accommodate both matches.
“We hope this hasn’t caused an inconvenience to our Members and supporters who were planning on making the trip to Worcester, but this was the only viable solution.
“This now gives us an unexpected additional home fixture in the height of the summer, which I’m sure will be a great four days at Chelmsford ahead of the Vitality Blast competition beginning.”