On what should have been the weekend of Yorkshire’s first visit to North Marine Road this season, for what should have been the first County Championship Roses game there for 29 years, Scarborough officials are bracing themselves for a net loss this year of around £150,000.
However, helped by prudent financial management and the support of Yorkshire and the England and Wales Cricket Board, Scarborough believes it is well-placed to withstand the absence of county cricket this summer.
Bill Mustoe, a Scarborough vice-president and the club’s former chairman, told The Yorkshire Post: “The financial impact of the crisis for us is well into six-figures.
“If you think that we were due to stage 10 days of Yorkshire cricket this year, that would have meant aggregate crowds of around 40,000-50,000, so it’s very significant financially – probably in the region of £150,000.
“Obviously, we don’t have the security costs and the stewarding costs, so there’s compensation in that regard, but it doesn’t make up for the overall loss.
“There’s also the effect on the local economy, with a survey a few years ago showing that cricket at Scarborough is worth something like £4m to the local economy.
“Basically, we rely on first-class cricket to keep the club going, and it’s got to have a dent on what we’re doing – and it will.
“Fortunately, we’ve been very prudent, which is going to stand us in good stead now, and we’ve had the odd legacy as well, which also helps.
“The money from this year would basically have gone towards the club’s running costs because everything goes back into keeping the club going and building the brand, the image, and all that kind of stuff.
“It is massive (the financial impact). You can’t avoid it. It’s going to hurt to some degree. It’s just how prepared you are to weather it. That’s the top and bottom of it, and I think that we’re in pretty good nick.”
The visit of Lancashire would have been the first time the Roses rivals had locked horns in a Championship game on the North Yorkshire coast since 1991 – two years after their only previous Championship meeting at North Marine Road.
Warwickshire were due to have visited Scarborough in the Championship in August for the 134th Festival, while they and Nottinghamshire were scheduled to play 50-over games there in July, too.
County cricket remains off until at least August 1, after which it is hoped there will be some form of regionalised cricket – either T20 and Championship, T20 and 50-over or just T20.
However, due to the restrictions around the coronavirus, there is little appetite for taking cricket to outgrounds, although it remains to be seen whether Lancashire and Hampshire – whose headquarters are being used for behind-closed-doors international cricket – will have to play their home fixtures at secondary locations.
“We’re going to have a year without any county cricket at Scarborough, and that’s really, really disappointing,” added Mustoe.
“One understands it, of course, and there’s not a lot you can do, so you just have to manage the best way you can.
“The ground is looking fantastic, which makes it even worse, and it probably looks even better than usual because nobody’s been trampling on it.
“Staff have been furloughed with the exception of groundsman John Dodds, who’s been working all the time and done an excellent job.
“The situation is hard, of course it is, but we’re hoping that we might get some respite from the ECB in due course; there’s sort of been an indication to that effect, and we’ve obviously been talking closely to Mark Arthur (the Yorkshire chief executive) and we’ll just have to see what comes of all that.
“But we’ve been very prudent historically in terms of what we’ve done, and we will weather this and be back even stronger next year, I’m sure.”
Talks are now underway with Yorkshire over extending Scarborough’s staging agreement to host county games.
Arthur is very pro-Scarborough, and there remains a huge appetite for cricket at North Marine Road among cricket lovers in Yorkshire and beyond.
“The agreement (with Yorkshire) finishes this year, so there’s an outline being put forward for the next five years,” added Mustoe.
“We love having 10 days of Yorkshire cricket at Scarborough each year.
“The appetite among spectators remains enormous; we hadn’t had such pre-game interest for this year’s Roses game, for example, in years.
“We had advance bookings that were incredible really.
“It really did spark everyone’s imagination.”
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