Update from the CEO and Chairman - Statement on the 2020 Cheltenham Cricket Festival

19 May 2020

Dear Members and Supporters,

We are living through unprecedented times and we hope you and your loved ones are well, or as well as can be, at what remains a very challenging period for everybody.

We wanted to take this opportunity to provide a further update regarding matters affecting the 2020 cricket season for Gloucestershire, as the situation changes on a weekly basis.

The England & Wales Cricket Board announced some weeks ago that there would be no cricket played in this country until 1st July at the earliest, and this remains the current guideline from our governing body. As we approach July, however, the Club’s preparations for the Cheltenham Cricket Festival would need to ramp up in order to deliver this annual showpiece event at the College Grounds. Due to the many and varied logistical and administrative issues we face in our planning, we are afraid that the Club have today decided to cancel this year’s Cheltenham Cricket Festival.

There are naturally some ramifications from taking a decision like this, but the first place to start is by stating that all matches currently earmarked to be played in Cheltenham will now be played at the Bristol County Ground, should these matches be confirmed on a re-jigged schedule the ECB are currently putting together. We trust that our supporters will understand that we cannot second-guess developments during this Covid-19 pandemic and need to make decisions based on the present situation we are faced with.

All ticket buyers for the Festival will of course be entitled to a full refund, together with supporters who had purchased a ticket package (Festival Pass) for this season; in both instances please can we ask you to contact tickets@glosccc.co.uk in order to process this refund.

Hospitality purchasers for the Cheltenham Festival will receive a separate communication later today from the Club, which will include an offer to roll over their booking for the 2021 season.

As the highlight of the cricketing summer for many and with cricket being played in Cheltenham since 1872, it is naturally a huge disappointment to us all that we have had to take this decision. As the festival requires detailed planning and logistics and with so much uncertainty around a return to playing professional sport, we’ve had to make the call to reduce the Club’s financial liabilities in erecting this temporary facility. We know The Bristol County Ground is of course geared up to host matches now and at any time, so our plans now revert to headquarters. It is extremely bittersweet to also note how beautiful both the College and Bristol County Ground are looking at present – which those of you following the Club on social media will have no doubt noticed. We do sincerely hope that we will have cricket to play in Bristol this season.

We would like to thank all of the amazing people who help with the planning and delivery of the festival and have been continuing to do so, even in this disrupted year. As well as our own internal staff special thanks should go to everyone at the College and notably Christian Brain and Andrew Hailes, Head Groundsman and Deputy Bursar respectively. Chris Coley, Festival Director of many years standing, has helped once again in much of the organisation and in also putting together an exciting programme of events for our 150th anniversary season. Likewise, we must thank our catering partners, Fosters, and Paolo and Anna, who I know many of us will miss keeping us refreshed in the glorious Cheltenham sunshine.

Lastly, a big thank you to the band of volunteers who make the festival such an amazing experience for all of us. They work tirelessly to raise much needed funds for the Club but do so with a ready smile and boundless enthusiasm.

Whilst we cannot now proceed for 2020, we are already excited about putting on something special at Cheltenham next year, and trust that all our members and supporters will want to join us for this!

We may have no cricket to watch at present, but we would like to signpost you to our Match Centre on the Gloucestershire Cricket website here which, this Thursday, will be showing as live every ball from the 2015 Royal London Cup Semi-Final against Yorkshire. The Sky cameras captured our brilliant win at Headingley and the Match Centre will not only broadcast the entire Sky Sports match action, but will also feature new interviews with Head Coach Richard Dawson and the two stars of the show from the day – Michael Klinger and Hamish Marshall. Please do sign in and enjoy one of our finest wins in recent years!

We will be writing to Members next week and we will of course write to everyone as soon as we have had the next update from the ECB, but in the mean time we would like to thank you all for your continued patience and understanding as we deal with these ever-changing circumstances.

Will and John

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