LOSING the county cricket ground would be like having the heart ripped out of the city, councillors have heard.

City councillors said they would fight to keep cricket at New Road, during a council meeting at the Guildhall last night (Tuesday, July 9).

The iconic cricket ground was hit by eight floods over the winter, leaving its future in doubt with the club’s board admitting it was exploring “every option” including a move away from the venue.

MEETING: Councillors in the Guildhall MEETING: Councillors in the Guildhall (Image: Phil Wilkinson-Jones/LDRS)

But Worcester City Council’s deputy leader Jabba Riaz said he saw the board’s statement as more of a “cry for help than a firm decision to abandon New Road”.

With board members looking on from the back of the room, Cllr Riaz said: “It is simply inconceivable, I believe, that cricket would leave New Road.

“When football left this great city, it was like having a kidney removed, although now returned, the transplant has left scars for life.

“When rugby left the city it was like having a lung punctured and the city hasn’t really been able to breathe easily since.

“If cricket was to leave this city, it would be like having the heart ripped out of this city. And from a sporting perspective, it would die. All the years of history, nostalgia, memories and dreams of thousands would be dishonoured and we in this city would forever carry our heads in shame for letting that happen.”

Cllr Riaz said the council has been approached by “a consortium of partners” wanting to keep cricket at New Road, and has spoken to both Worcester’s new MP Tom Collins and Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer during his visit to Worcester about the situation.

Cllr John Rudge, who put forward a motion calling for the council to lobby the government for funding and support, said the cricket ground “is what puts Worcester on the map, not just nationally but internationally”.

“People from all around the world want to come and play cricket at Worcester and follow in the footsteps of the great Sir Don Bradman,” he said.

“It’s possible to see this as insurmountable - that the floods have beaten us. Or we see it as a challenge to solve.

“There are flood experts who do believe there are solutions to this problem and it’s something we should explore.”

Cllr Matt Lamb said New Road has given Worcester countless memories but faces a “grave threat” in flooding.

“We have witnessed the ground submerged in water disrupting matches, damaging facilities and straining our resources,” he said.

“Protecting this club from flooding is not just about safeguarding a sports ground. It is about preserving a vital part of our cultural and social fabric.

“We must continue investing in robust flood defences and sustainable infrastructure that can withstand the challenges posed by climate change. This includes improved drainage systems, protective barriers and strategic planning.”

Alec Mackie, a member of the cricket club since 1947, said: “I’d like to congratulate the members on their passionate speeches, some of the best I’ve heard in council meetings - and I’ve been to more than most people over the years.”