Scarborough CC offered new 10-year staging agreement by Yorkshire

Yorkshire County Cricket Club has offered Scarborough CC a new 10-year staging agreement to host county cricket.

By Community Sport Reporter
Thursday, 11th February 2021, 9:28 am
North Marine Road. Picture: Richard Ponter

The deal will continue to ensure 10 days of Yorkshire cricket at North Marine Road each summer subject to unforeseen changes in the county schedule.

It means that the historic venue – used by Yorkshire since the late 19th-century – will retain its prominent place on the outground circuit.

Yorkshire currently use two outgrounds – Scarborough and York – whereas once they played from Hull to Harrogate and all points thereabouts.

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The landscape of cricket has changed markedly, of course, with fewer first-class games and more reliance by county clubs on headquarters, which increasingly have bills to pay caused by ground improvements to host international cricket.

But Yorkshire’s love affair with Scarborough shows no sign of ending, with the new deal effectively a formality given that Yorkshire’s fixtures for the summer have already been announced, including the first County Championship Roses match at Scarborough for 30 years, starting on July 11.

Yorkshire will also play a second Championship game there later in the season at a date to be confirmed, when the tournament moves to its new divisional stage, as well as One-Day Cup matches at Scarborough against Surrey on July 22 and against Northamptonshire on July 28.

The 10-year length of contract amid a constantly changing cricketing climate is proof of the esteem in which Yorkshire CCC holds Scarborough, always a beloved destination of Yorkshire’s members and supporters.

Mark Arthur, the Yorkshire chief executive, and one of Scarborough’s staunchest advocates, said: “We’ve offered Scarborough a new 10-year deal and a draft contract for them to review.

“As things stand at the moment, it will be based on 10 days’ cricket – two Championship and two One-Day Cup matches.

“But, as is always the case, if the ECB changes the quantum of cricket then that could potentially change over a 10-year period.

“If, for example, the One-Day Cup disappears for whatever reason, or things suddenly change, then we obviously reserve the right to change the structure.

“But Scarborough is the jewel in our crown as far as I’m concerned, and the two things that people always look out for are the Scarborough fixtures and the Lancashire T20 at Emerald Headingley.”

Rob Richtering, the Scarborough chief executive, said that the Scarborough club’s board will meet shortly to discuss the new staging agreement.

Although he did not wish to comment on the specifics until the board has had time to discuss things properly, Richtering welcomed Yorkshire’s support.

“It’s good that Scarborough has been offered another 10 years, which is obviously a long time, and we’re very grateful that Yorkshire would make that commitment,” he said.

“Our two organisations work really well together, and Yorkshire cricket at North Marine Road is great for Scarborough and great for the area.”

Richtering added that Scarborough has plans to overhaul many of the ground’s toilet facilities and to put better seating into the West Stand. Such aspirations would clearly be served by improved security of tenure.

Richtering is also hopeful of welcoming full crowds back to the ground this summer, following predictably high interest in the Lancashire match, which he hopes could attract in the region of 7,000 spectators per day.

“We’re still very hopeful of crowds, and it would be great to get a full house against Lancashire,” he said.

“There’s definitely massive interest in that match.

“On social media, one of our people put out that it’s one of the biggest games in cricket, and he got slaughtered by people saying, ‘No it isn’t, it’s the biggest game’.

“Of course, he was just trying to be diplomatic, but it just shows you what people think about it and how much interest there is.”

Arthur agreed. “Hopefully, there won’t be any crowd restrictions at that time,” he said, “but, until we get closer to the dates we obviously don’t know for certain what the situation will be.

“But we will set up protocols accordingly and will be totally prepared, just as we were last year. Whatever government edict comes down, we will be prepared for it and we will deliver cricket as best we can.”

As before, the new staging agreement would work on a profit share basis.

“There’s no fixed fee,” said Arthur.

“It’s a ratio, a profit share. Basically, the bigger the crowds, the more money, and so on.

“It’s very similar to the current deal; it’s just been updated.

“Hopefully, it will help Scarborough to get grants and investment into the ground, and I hope people see that it’s an ongoing commitment to the Scarborough venue and that Yorkshire cricket is sticking to its traditional values.”