Tuesday 19 February 2008 

GCCC Opens Bowling To Strike World Class Wickets

Gloucestershire Country Cricket Club is today (Feb 19, 2008) launching a campaign at a House of Commons event to bring the cream of major international cricket to its Nevil Road ground near the centre of Bristol.

The World Class West campaign hopes to achieve an upgrade of the existing facilities, such as more permanent seating, improved corporate and media services and better pitch drainage.

There has been no formal programme laid out yet as this is the campaign’s first phase – aimed at discovering initial reaction to the plan and generating support in principle. This means issues over funding and how any such scheme would be rolled out are currently being explored.

The House of Commons reception this afternoon will host a range of stakeholders, business people, political leaders, MPs and representatives from the cricketing world to both celebrate GCCC’s current standing and to open up discussion on how to progress.

Tom Richardson, chief executive of GCCC said: “We are very pleased to be launching World Class West at the House of Commons today. We have real demand in the West for an international cricket centre and through this campaign we hope to meet that need.

“At the moment we hold an average of one international a year and we always sell out in good time. Plus, we host five domestic Twenty20 matches, which always attract really good crowds.

“Annually, we would like to hold at least two internationals, as well as host international tournaments and domestic finals. If we are to achieve that goal, it will mean a serious upgrade to the Club.”

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club has been at Nevil Road for more than 100 years after it was established in 1871 and counts cricket legend WG Grace among its founding fathers.

It has about 3,600 permanent seating with the capacity to increase that to 15,000 with temporary seating for larger matches.

World Class West would like to see this increased to up to 10,000 permanent seats and the ability to bring in up to another 10,000 temporary ones – giving a full capacity of up to 20,000.

This would allow Nevil Road to compete for matches alongside grounds such as Trent Bridge in Nottingham, the Rose Bowl in Hampshire and Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

Captain of GCCC, Jon Lewis said: “Any chance to improve the facilities at whatever level is great for the players and fans alike.

“We are extremely excited to find out what people think of the idea.”