The game against Lancashire on July 11-14 has had to be switched due to the ongoing Covid restrictions which would have meant as few as 1,200 spectators being able to attend each day’s play.
Crowds in excess of 6,000 per day had initially been expected for what would have been the first Championship Roses game at North Marine Road for 30 years, a prospect already rolled over from the previous year following the cancellation of the traditional Championship programme and the reorganisation of fixtures into the Bob Willis Trophy.
But after the extension of the government’s so-called roadmap earlier this month, and following an extensive planning and risk assessment of North Marine Road carried out on behalf of the England and Wales Cricket Board, Scarborough was unable to satisfy all of the criteria that would have permitted crowds of at least 25 per cent in a ground thought to hold in the region of 9,000.
In a statement this morning, Yorkshire whose Headingley headquarters can accommodate upwards of 4,000 under the present restrictions, said: “Since the government’s decision to extend lockdown, Yorkshire Cricket and Scarborough Cricket Club have explored ways to stage the match in front of the maximum number of members, whilst creating a safe environment and following the current government guidance.
“Both clubs had hoped that sports venues would be able to provide a larger capacity than 25%, a number that has thrown up a number of challenges to satisfy spectator safety requirements. To host a match with 25% occupancy, certain criteria must be met, including demonstrating social distancing at entrances and exits, toilets, and minimising congestion around the venue.
“Following extensive guidance and a professional ECB externally funded investigation, it has been determined that North Marine Road would not totally satisfy this criteria, and would therefore have its capacity reduced further to significantly below 2,000.
“Due to this, The Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Scarborough Cricket Club have taken the difficult decision to move the match to Emerald Headingley.”
Mark Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, said: “Firstly, we are hugely disappointed to have to make this decision as we truly believed that this fixture would be unaffected.
“We were anticipating over 6,000 spectators each day for what would be a fantastic advert for county cricket. Following the extension of the government’s roadmap, we had hoped that social distancing guidelines would have been eased as the data continued to show encouraging signs.
“After exploring every possible avenue, we had to ensure that as many members as possible could attend the match. Staging the match at Scarborough under the current restrictions would leave many of our members disappointed. Therefore, we believe that the fairest and most pragmatic decision was to host the match at a venue that has satisfied safety requirements and can comfortably cater for Yorkshire members.
“We are extremely sorry to those who now have the added complications around accommodation, but we wanted to ensure that as many members could attend as possible.”