The LV= County Championship match between Surrey and Gloucestershire that was due to take place at Guildford CC from Thursday May 27th to Sunday May 30th has been moved to The Kia Oval.
The decision was made after this week’s announcement of the government road map out of the Coronavirus lockdown, which stated that after Monday May 17th, sports stadiums will be able to host up to 25% of their capacity or 10,000 fans, whichever is smaller.
As the seating capacity at Guildford CC is only around 2,000, hosting the game at Woodbridge Road would have meant a maximum of just 500 fans a day (4% of Surrey Members) would have been able to attend in person.
By moving the game to the Kia Oval, the Club anticipates being able host approximately 6,500 Members a day (53% of Club Membership). Given the vast differential, it was felt best to move the match to give the greatest number of Surrey fans the best chance to watch the match.
The Kia Oval is planning on welcoming a similar number of Members to each day of the previous week’s game, the London Derby against Middlesex that is due to start on Thursday May 20th.
Procedures for how Members can secure their access to these games are currently being worked on and will be announced when they are finalised.
Reacting to the government announcement earlier this week, Chief Executive Richard Gould also expressed his optimism that fans might be able to be back at the Club even earlier than May 20th.
“Everyone was waiting for what the Prime Minister was going to say and it seems like he has really delivered for cricket fans”, said Gould.
“With outdoor leisure attractions like Thorpe Park, London Zoo and pub beer gardens all allowed to reopen on Monday April 12th, we very much hope that we will be permitted to open up the Kia Oval to a good percentage of Surrey Members for our first home game of the season, three days later.
“After this, we will continue with a phased reopening of the ground, working towards the government’s subsequent key dates of Monday May 17th and Monday June 21st, when we host a T20 match against Essex.”
There are due to be sixteen days of first-class cricket at the Kia Oval in April and May – eight of which will take place on weekends. Surrey CCC Members will get priority access to all matches – including later games in the Vitality Blast.