Ashley Giles: Worcestershire prepare for flooding impact on T20 Blast

Worcestershire's New Road home has suffered eight flooding events since the end of the 2023 season and they have already moved their first two Championship home games to Kidderminster

Worcestershire are making "contingency plans" for the start of the T20 Blast as New Road continues to be impacted by flooding, according to chief executive Ashley Giles.

The club has suffered no fewer than eight flooding events since the end of the 2023 season, most recently at the beginning of April, and have already had to move their first two home games in the County Championship to Kidderminster as the ground is currently unplayable.

They hope to be back on home soil for their Championship meeting with Nottinghamshire on May 24 but following the latest inundation, that date could be pushed back.

Worcestershire are due to host Lancashire in the Blast on May 31, but a stroke of scheduling good fortune means four of their opening five fixtures are already away from home.

Related: "We can't go on like this" - How Worcestershire are desperately trying to keep their head above water


Worcestershire are scheduled to play at home in the Blast on May 31 [David Rogers/Getty Images]

"I'm very concerned about this latest flood," Giles said, speaking on The Cricketer’s County Conversation podcast.

"We're almost on that knife edge of cutting in towards T20 Blast cricket and if that becomes affected, we're looking at a really serious problem. The water table is so high that the water is beginning to linger.

"We are absolutely going to have to make some contingency plans. Could we borrow a ground? Could we play away for the first fixture? Could we play at Kidderminster? Ultimately, we want to be here: it's easier and less damaging from a financial perspective."

Related: Meet Stephen Manfield, Worcestershire's groundsperson and, therefore, winter's busiest man

He continued: "We're still aiming for a May 24 return, but if we did lose that first T20 game and had to play somewhere else, we're then not due back at New Road until the middle of June, so there is an extended window there.

"We're all hoping that at some point, the sun's got to come out. The weather forecast for the next couple of weeks is much better.

"We're trying to remain upbeat and confident that we'll be here on May 24 and certainly on May 31 for the first T20 game."

New Road has hosted first-class cricket since 1899 and is, in Giles' words, "one of the most iconic grounds in the world".

However, with the ground situated on a flood plain, a long history of flooding, and a nationwide trend towards wetter winters and more extreme weather events, moving to a new home is something Worcestershire are having to consider.

"My job has to be to explore all options," Giles said. "Options to stay at New Road but also to explore what a move would look like. We just can't go on like this; we're going to miss two months of the season at least.

"We'd have to work with the local councils, county and city, on looking at where a move may be possible. Your best bet to build a first-class venue is probably to start from scratch. If you try and manufacture from something existing, generally there's a tenant already and we don't want to put another cricket club out of business.

"The venue share thing, if you're talking about first-class venues, is extremely difficult. The amount of cricket that goes through any of these grounds is getting more and more. If you're looking at somewhere like Edgbaston, with The Hundred, the women's game, the Blast, there's a hell of a lot of traffic, and it'll be the same around the country."

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