Yorkshire confident ‘teething troubles’ with £21m pavilion will be ironed out

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YORKSHIRE last night insisted they are putting their pavilion in order amid concerns the £21m facility is not fit for purpose.

The controversial building has come under fire for the quality of facilities for players and officials.

Yorkshire are working to rectify matters with the support and guidance of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The club insist the problems will be resolved in time for the first match at Headingley Carnegie on April 14.

Difficulties with the pavilion – which opened last July – include:

Dressing room facilities, which some Yorkshire players are known to consider inadequate;

Facilities for umpires, scorers and match referees, which have prompted complaints;

Players’ viewing arrangements which are less than ideal.

The ECB say they are “very comfortable” with the state of Yorkshire’s progress to meet requisite standards.

But the difficulties are a source of frustration to a club who said their pavilion would rival the iconic splendour of Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim Museum.

Various irritations have seemingly abounded.

Last week, the Yorkshire Post revealed that Duncan Eccles, the club’s electronic scoreboard operator, had resigned in protest over the fact his seat in the ground does not afford him a view of the electronic scoreboard.

In addition, Johnny Dennis, the ECB’s matchday announcer, was so unhappy with his facilities that he refused to work in the new pavilion and demanded to be moved back to his old position in the Rugby Stand, while Australia captain Ricky Ponting was understood to have been less than happy with the pavilion during last summer’s Test against Pakistan.

Richard Kaye, Yorkshire’s sales director, admitted there have been dificulties with the new building – a joint-venture with Leeds Metropolitan University, who provided £14m of the funding.

But he insisted those difficulties are being steadily ironed out.

“There have been a few operational issues,” conceded Kaye. “But it’s nothing different to what you would expect from any new development of this size.

“By working in conjunction with ECB, we are identifying and rectifying those operational issues.

“The ECB are happy with the work we are doing and everything will be sorted by the start of the season.”

Commenting on the work taking place, Kaye said: “We are improving the acccommodation for the players in terms of the home and away dressing rooms.

“We are also improving the fittings and furnishings, with improvements to lockers and that sort of thing. In addition, we are responding as best we can to various observations made by matchday officials.

“We are taking on board the feedback that has come through from umpires and match referees and are doing our best to accommodate everyone.”

Gordon Hollins, the ECB’s managing director (county business), said he was satisfied with Yorkshire’s progress.

“We are very comfortable where we are with them (Yorkshire),” said Hollins. “As with any new building, there have been one or two teething issues, but Yorkshire are working hard to put them right.”

Yorkshire’s ability to deliver a new pavilion would not have been possible without the financial support of Leeds Met.

At the same time, the fact the building is also a teaching facility makes it harder for the club to meet cricketing standards.

Yorkshire do not have full use of the pavilion, renting only some of the rooms from Leeds Met.

Having wriggled out of one tie-up with Leeds Rugby to acquire ownership of Headingley cricket ground, Yorkshire are now seemingly so heavily joined at the hip with Leeds Met – albeit out of necessity – that they still cannot really be considered masters of their own destiny.

Although such factors must be considered in mitigation, one of the principal annoyances regarding the pavilion facilities appears to be that the consulation processes could have been better.

Scoreboard operator Eccles, for instance, flagged up his problems “before a stone of the new pavilion had been laid”, but his concerns apparently fell on deaf ears.

The ECB recognise the difficult circumstances in which Yorkshire are operating, but there can be no doubt the club are being asked to raise their game.