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Championship fixture at The Mote axed

Rob Ferley in action for Kent at The Mote this summer
Rob Ferley in action for Kent at The Mote this summer

MAIDSTONE Festival Week will have a different look to it next summer following Kent’s decision not to take four-day championship cricket to The Mote in 2004.

Though Kent have played cricket at the county town ground since 1859, next summer’s proposals opt for a schedule of three limited overs games and no championship fixture.

Kent want to play one National League match and a Twenty20 Trophy tie at The Mote, with an optional second Trophy match the if initial attendances merit it.

Though the complete first-class fixture will not be finalised for another fortnight, officials at The Mote have already been told they will not be hosting a first-class game.

It now seems almost certain that Kent will now take championship cricket to the new county ground in Beckenham next season to mark the 50th anniversary of their one and only match their against Gloucestershire in 1954.

Club Chairman Terry Holloway said: "Kent have written to us saying that the configuration of next year’s fixtures makes it impossible for them to stage a traditional four-day game here.

"Of course that’s a shame, especially as the umpires for this year’s championship match with Nottinghamshire marked and the league game with Glamorgan marked our pitches as very good.

"It’s as good a wicket as Kent will play on anywhere in the country and we believe that will continue to work in our favour in years to come."

Whilst surprised by the lack of a championship fixture, Mr Holloway believes the decision will not mark the end of Maidstone Cricket Week as we have come to know it.

"We put an awful lot of hard labour into hosting cricket week and generally our rewards come from the increased attendances for one day games here," he added.

"The fact is, we could see many more people come through the gates for three separate one-day games than we would for our traditional Festival format of a four-dayer followed by a National League match.

"Kent have never looked beyond the next year in their dealings with us, but my reckoning is that if we pull in the crowds next summer, then they are bound to want to keep coming back."

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