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— 29 March 2014

Chairman Colin Graves has urged members and fans of Yorkshire County Cricket Club to support Headingley by attending Test matches and one-day internationals at the venue.

    "I want to make sure we do retain international matches at Headingley and it important that you all support Test cricket here." - Colin Graves

    But he also issued a stark warning at a packed annual general meeting of the Club at Headingley today that if they didn’t then the ground’s status as a Test match venue could be in jeopardy after 2019 when the current staging agreement with the England and Wales Cricket Board will have expired.

    “I want to make sure we do retain international matches at Headingley and it important that you all support Test cricket here,” he said.

    Colin said that the next stage of the ECB’s planning for Test fixtures would be to award matches until the end of 2019 to all those grounds which did not have a staging agreement.

    And he revealed the good news that in 2019 Headingley would be staging an Ashes Test and he hoped that it would also be a venue for the World Cup that summer.

    “That will be an absolutely fantastic event but who knows what will happen after 2019?” he warned.

    “We are a cricket club first and foremost but we are also a Test match venue and without international cricket at Headingley Yorkshire would not be here, as it is the revenue from Tests and one-day internationals which keeps this Club going. It is paramount that we keep this status, otherwise Yorkshire would be in serious financial difficulties.”

  • Colin Graves at the Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Annual General Meeting

    If every Yorkshire member bought a ticket for the Headingley Test match and one-day international there would be no problem financially but the Club’s record for selling Test match tickets was not that good. Apart from Ashes Tests they struggled and they had to format a situation whereby they could fill the ground for three of the five days. Steps were in hand to make sure that attending a Test match on the ground would be a very enjoyable experience.

    Lots of work was going on in the background to make sure that in four or five years time they would have got to the stage where the Rugby stand had been redeveloped, so increasing the ground’s capacity to 20,000-22,000 which was where they needed to be with the ECB.

  • Yorkshire CCC already had an application in with Leeds Council for the erection of floodlights at Headingley for which they would receive an ECB grant of £700,000 but would then have to find £1m themselves. If the International Cricket Council were to state that all international ground must have floodlights Headingley at the moment would be left out. Yorkshire were not prepared to take on any more debt but it was important the money would be found for the installation of floodlights.

    There was sustained applause when a member stood to say it would be remiss not to thank Colin for all his efforts over the years because without him Yorkshire would not be where it was today.

    Colin replied that he had done what he had for Yorkshire because he was a “cricket nut” and he would make sure members had a sustainable club that would never again get into the situation it did and that it would retain its status as an international ground.

  • Finance director, Charles Hartwell (pictured), said that the main reason for the trading deficit last year was because the Test match against New Zealand in an Ashes summer had been played in mid-May and the first day been entirely washed out by the weather, the game also not going into a fifth day. Things looked better this year with the Test match against Sri Lanka being scheduled for June 20-24, followed by the one-day international against India to be played on September 5.

    Charles leaves Yorkshire for a new job in a fortnight’s time but he said in the five years he had been at Headingley he had become a huge fan of the Club and he was warmly thanked for his services by Colin.

  • Director of Professional Cricket, Martyn Moxon, said the first team had gone all out last season to win the Championship in the Club’s 150th anniversary year and they had been in with a good chance of achieving that aim going into the game with Durham at Scarborough. But they came up against a highly determined side who deserved much credit for the way they had performed from then until the end of the season.

    There had been some criticism about their selection policy for important one-day games but the challenge was to try to win now and also develop for the future. They had used the YB40 to blood promising young players as they needed to find out over the next 18 months or so how they would react to first team cricket.

    It had been disappointing to win so few Twenty20 games but they had had a different personnel and their skills had not been as sharp as the previous year, but all the players had worked hard on their one-day skills on the pre-season tour to Sri Lanka. The County Championship was always the most desirable trophy but they wanted to compete in all forms of the game and in New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and Australia’s Aaron Finch they had got two outstanding international players with Finch one of the most explosive batsmen in world cricket.

    The whole squad was in fantastic shape and had worked really hard during the winter. They had a really strong cohesive unit which was hoped would get the results which were wanted.

  • Martyn Moxon, Director of Cricket

    World famous former umpire and Yorkshire batsman, Dickie Bird, was elected Yorkshire president for the coming year and in response Dickie told members he had been at Headingley since 7 o’clock in the morning and hadn’t slept all night!

    He thanked everyone for electing him to an office he never for one moment dreamed about when he first walked through the Headingley gates as a 16-year-old for net practises with Yorkshire. Sir Donald Bradman had once told him that Yorkshire was the greatest cricket club in the world which was a tremendous compliment from the great man and Dickie said he was humble and proud to become the Club’s President.

  • Harold ‘Dickie’ Bird the Club’s new President

    Stephen Willis was elected to the Yorkshire Board as the Leeds Metropolitan University representative in place of Gareth Davies, who had resigned, and Stephen Denison retired by rotation from the Board and was re-elected.

    Eric Stephens was re-elected to the Members’ Committee and Bob Stott, also a member of that committee, received the President’s Medal for his outstanding work for the Club. He had served as chairman of the committee responsible for organising events for last year’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

    Both Colin Graves and Bob Stott paid tribute to the work done by Geoffrey Boycott during his two years as President and Bob said both Geoffrey and his wife, Rachael, had worked extremely hard on the 150th anniversary events.

  • Sachin Tendulkar, Yorkshire’s first overseas player, was elected an Honorary Life Member of Yorkshire CCC and elected as Vice-Presidents were former long serving committee member, Robert Hilliam; Members’ Committee Chairman, Stephen Mann; Scarborough Cricket Club Chairman, Bill Mustoe, and Yorkshire cricket journalist, David Warner.

    Badges for 50 years of membership to Yorkshire CCC were awarded to Charlotte Evers, Bernard Wilson, Raymond Leach, Peter Waterhouse and David Tunbridge.