STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE TRUSTEES OF NEWCLOSE COUNTY CRICKET GROUND
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Regrettably, the Ageas Bowl based ‘Southern Vipers’ Women cricketers and the Trustees of Newclose County Cricket Ground, have had to make the decision to exclude spectators from attending the 50 Over warm-up match at Newclose on Saturday 1st May. The prevailing Covid-19 rules and protocols for professional sport have necessitated this policy.
We are particularly disappointed that emerging girls and women cricketers on the Island will be deprived of the opportunity to see top women cricketers in action. Being scheduled for the Saturday of the early May Bank Holiday, we had hoped to see a substantial crowd watching the winners of last season’s national women’s 50 Over competition – The Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy. The Vipers will still be coming to Newclose, led by coach and former England Captain, Charlotte Edwards MBE, with a squad captained by Georgia Adams who won the player of the competition award in 2020.
Newclose is more determined than ever to give ‘The Vipers’ the very best facilities for the match, and encourage them to return in 2022 for a competitive fixture, possibly over the same weekend as a Hampshire men’s 1st XI one day match. Last season, a 50-Overs Hampshire versus Lancashire men’s 1st XI fixture was scheduled for early August at Newclose, but it did not take place due to the cancellation of the ECB ‘Royal London Trophy’ competition.
Andy Butler the Newclose Head Groundsman is more determined than ever to provide the ‘Southern Vipers’ with the best possible playing surface for the 1st May match, with a pitch of a similar standard to the ones they will be playing on later in the season at the Ageas Bowl and The County Ground Hove. Newclose Trustee and IWCB Director Hugh Griffiths knows the Hove ground well from fifteen years ago when he was the Sussex CCC Chief Executive. In support of the Newclose facilities and particularly the groundstaff, Hugh commented, “Andy Butler and his assistant George Hatt have the skills and commitment of groundsmen at First Class County Grounds. Hampshire and the Vipers only cross the Solent to play at Newclose because of the outstanding pitches and the overall quality of the ground which the late Brian Gardener established in 2008. On a positive note and looking to the future, on Friday 18th June it will be Hampshire 2nd XI playing at Newclose in a T20 match against Middlesex 2nd XI. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to allow a small crowd to watch the day’s play, although that is by no means a certainty. More news on that match can be expected in early June.”
Reaction from the Isle of Wight Cricket Board
Chair of the Isle of Wight Cricket Board, Kate Barton, commented, “The IWCB’s strategy for cricket follows that of the England and Wales Cricket Board. Developing women’s and girls’ cricket is one of our top priorities, and with some talented girl cricketers emerging from clubs and schools on the Island, we share Newclose’s disappointment. Our young players would have been delighted to see the sport’s top women in action as players and role models. Despite that, IWCB is the governing body for cricket on the Island and we are the first to appreciate the rules that are currently in place for cricket and other major sports, in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”