Financial concerns grow for Yorkshire CCC’s picturesque outground at Scarborough CC

SCARBOROUGH Cricket Club is counting the cost of the early finish to this week’s County Championship match as it faces up to a significant six-figure loss since the start of the pandemic.

The club estimates that it lost in the region of £30,000 after Yorkshire won their four-day fixture against Somerset inside two days at North Marine Road.

Scarborough had already incurred heavy losses following the cancellation last summer of its Championship games against Lancashire and Warwickshire and its 50-over matches against Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire due to the revamped season brought about by Covid.

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The club also saw its scheduled Championship fixture against Lancashire this summer switched to Emerald Headingley due to capacity constraints before the Covid restrictions were eased.

Action from day two of Yorkshire v Somerset at Scarborough, which unfortunately for the outground was the final day of play. (Picture: Will Palmer/SWPix.com)

Bill Mustoe, the Scarborough vice-president and board member, said: “Losing the last two days of the Somerset match probably cost us in the region of £30,000.

“Crowds were down for the match in any case; we had around 2,500 on each of the first two days, whereas you would have expected historically somewhere in the region of 4,000 per day.

“Because the pavilion was a bubble for the teams, we weren’t able to open the members’ bar and we couldn’t sell corporate hospitality on that first floor lounge either.

“It’s just another element of what’s been an incredibly difficult time, and I would say that these past 18 months have impacted us well into six-figures, although it’s hard to put an exact figure on it.”

Crowds were down for the two days of Yorkshire against Somerset at Scarborough (Picture: Will Palmer/SWPix.com)

Mustoe attributed the poor attendance for this week’s game – the official figure on day one was 2,317 and, on day two, 2,554 – to two principal factors.

First, that the dates for the fixture were only confirmed in late July, following the finalisation of the Championship’s new divisional stage, whereas normally they would be announced the previous winter, and, second, to the fact that spectators struggled to book late accommodation.

“There was certainly a so-called staycation issue,” he said. “We were aware that some people were not able to book into hotels because they were full with more people holidaying in the UK this year instead of going abroad due to the Covid situation.

“People only had a few weeks in any case between the announcement of the fixture and the fixture actually taking place, and I certainly think that had an impact because we couldn’t say when it was taking place for sure and we couldn’t say who we were playing against either.

A general view of the ground during the second day of the match between Yorkshire and Somerset (Picture: WIll Palmer/SWPix.com)

“Personally, I think the Championship structure needs to be looked at and also the relationship between the 50-over competition and The Hundred, because this situation isn’t going away.”

Mustoe believes the fact that the 50-over Royal London Cup and The Hundred were played at the same time impacted on crowd figures for Yorkshire’s two 50-over games at Scarborough in July.

Only 2,727 attended the match against Surrey and just 2,169 the fixture against Northamptonshire, roughly 50 per cent down on what might have been expected.

“I think the structure changes, with The Hundred impacting on the 50-over competition, means that one-day games at Scarborough will be less well attended,” said Mustoe.

“This is because the quality of the sides that are appearing is less because of contracts for The Hundred, so that is less appealing (to spectators) and we’ve certainly seen that in the numbers this year.”

Scarborough, which signed a new 10-year staging agreement with Yorkshire CCC in March, is guaranteed 10 days of county cricket each summer – two Championship games and two one-day matches.

“The 10 days of Yorkshire cricket we have each year would usually tide us through the winter,” said Mustoe. “Therefore, we’re going to have to look at how we operate in general because outgrounds with a larger infrastructure such as ours have clearly been adversely impacted by recent events. Like any other business, we will have to look at the way we run things in an effort to reduce our cost base.”