New Road has maintained its reputation as the Atlantis of cricket grounds by disappearing under flood waters once again.
Less than two weeks before cricket is scheduled to return to Worcestershire’s home ground, the Severn has burst its banks, spilling water over the pitch. The square is currently under 12-inches of water and the marquee, only just returned to the club, is two feet under.
As things stand, Worcestershire still intend to host a pre-season game against Warwickshire on April 1. It was to have been a symbolic return - no cricket was possible at New Road after June 13 last year - but instead may become symbolic for a further abandonment. Indeed, one wonders just how much more cricket New Road may host.
The club insist that the floods are far from unique. "The last eight to ten years have been no worse than any other period," David Leatherdale, the club’s commercial director said. "In fact, in the 1950s, there were far more."
The unsettling thought lingers, however, that it has not actually rained that much. Yes, there was heavy rain over the weekend, but it barely lasted 24-hours. Such weather is far from unseasonal or unusual, yet New Road appears unable to cope. Worryingly, the forecast for the next few days is grim.
At least the club has a contingency plan this year. If the worst should happen, Worcestershire have made arrangements that cricket could be switched to Kidderminster at 48-hours notice, though it is unlikely that a warm-up game will be moved. In the longer-term, however, there is no obvious solution.