County Championship: Worcestershire-Kent abandoned without a ball being bowled

The covers remained on at New Road for four days running in Worcestershire's opening County Championship Division Two fixture of the season against Kent
The covers remained on at New Road for all four days of the County Championship opener
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road
Worcestershire v Kent
No play possible. Match abandoned as a draw.
Worcestershire 5 pts, Kent 5 pts
Match scorecard

Worcestershire suffered their first complete abandonment since New Road's great flood of 2007, as their opening County Championship game of the season against Kent was called off as a draw.

After three lost days following heavy rain, a noon inspection was planned for Wednesday's scheduled final day.

But umpires Richard Illingworth and Ian Gould had no option but to abandon, with both teams awarded five points.

Neither side will now play any Championship cricket until 24 April.

They do not have games in the second round of fixtures, which start this Sunday.

Worcestershire have England's Moeen Ali available for the trip to play Gloucestershire at Bristol, while Kent are again on their travels - against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Same ground, different story

It is the first time New Road has seen a complete washout in the County Championship in nine years when, in mid-summer, following the 2007 flood, Worcestershire lost successive games against Kent and Lancashire.

They then decamped 14 miles to Chester Road, Kidderminster for the remainder of that season's four-day fixtures. But that option is no longer open to them as the county made the decision that they wanted to stay within the city of Worcester.

Flagge Meadow, home of Worcester Royal Grammar School, situated across the city on the other side of the River Severn, is now their 'second home' - and has suffered the same amount of rainfall this week.

It was the second-earliest ever start to a Championship season at New Road (the home game with Yorkshire in 2012 began on 8 April). But it is the first time in more than a century that Worcester's opening fixture has been totally abandoned, although a meeting with Bill Lawry's Australian touring team also failed to get under way in May 1968.

I read it differently to umpires - Rhodes

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes told BBC Sport:

"Let's make sure we get things right here. This is nothing to do with the river. There is a water table that is incredibly high. That is what is affecting us at the moment, the saturation of the whole area.

"When we practised, this ground was looking good, ready for Sunday. Everything was all stations go. Sadly for us, we then had a lot of overnight rain.

"But I'm very disappointed. I've got a different view to the way the umpires read it. It doesn't matter what I think, but I think we could have played some cricket.

"In the older days, I'm not saying it was right, but if you got the two captains to agree, then generally we played but that rule is no more. Now it's totally down to the umpires and, if they don't agree, we don't play."

Umpire Richard Illingworth, ex-Worcestershire spinner, told BBC Sport:

"The ground needs a few more days like this to get it into a starting position.

"Both Ian Gould and myself turned up on the first day and didn't think there would be any issues.

"We unpacked and got ready for the start of play. It was only when we went out at half past nine, when we realised that the ground was not fit for purpose."

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