Warwickshire is taking professional cricket into the community for the first time in almost a decade after agreeing to play three matches in Rugby this summer.

Metro Bank One Day Cup games against Surrey (2 Aug), Yorkshire (11 Aug) and Nottinghamshire (14 Aug) will all be played at Rugby School.

Rugby School has hosted Warwickshire previously but not since 2015 when the Bears won a One Day Cup clash against Sussex.

The ground has a 3,000-capacity for what the Club intend to be a community festival of cricket to welcome the Bears on tour.

The plans include fun cricket sessions for children during the interval, mascots and Guards of Honour involving local youngsters, and off-field activities.

The Club also wants to use the partnership to create a cricketing legacy in the town and inspire the next generation of players through free coaching sessions at leisure and youth centres delivered through the junior All Stars scheme.

Warwickshire Performance Director Gavin Larsen, said: “We love playing at Edgbaston, obviously, but this is an amazing opportunity to take the Bears closer to Members and supporters in Warwickshire.

“I was at Neath last season to watch the Bears take on Glamorgan and the vibe at the game was tremendous.

“I’m sure the fans and local community will create an equally great atmosphere at Rugby. It’s school summer holidays so hopefully there will be lots of junior Bears there to cheer the guys on.

“The facilities at Rugby School are superb and, importantly, the pitch and outfield will be at a standard required for professional cricket.”

Edgbaston has a packed 2024 summer schedule – with a West Indies Test and England’s men and women playing IT20s against Pakistan, alongside domestic games and Vitality Blast Finals Day – so the move also takes pressure off the stadium’s wickets.

Edgbaston Head of Sports Turf Gary Barwell will work with the grounds team at Rugby in the weeks leading up to the games to help prepare the wickets.

Rugby School Head Master Gareth Parker-Jones, said: “We are delighted to be partnered with Warwickshire and excited to host these three matches.

“Cricket has been played on this same ground since the early 1800s and our Director of Cricket, Michael Powell (pictured with Gavin Larsen), enjoyed a career spanning more than 17 years with Warwickshire, representing the county in more than 290 matches.

“It’s great for the local community to have top level cricket on their doorstep while also bringing visitors from further afield to help boost the town’s economy – a real win-win!’

Warwickshire has played at numerous outgrounds over the years including Nuneaton, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and several clubs in Coventry.

Club Chief Executive Stuart Cain, added: “Members have long asked us to consider playing some games at an out-ground, ideally in the heart of Warwickshire. We looked at a number of clubs and Rugby School could provide the wicket, pavilion, catering and seating requirements needed to stage a professional game. 

“We’re looking forward to the occasions; I hope it’ll ignite people’s passion for county cricket and bring new members of the community to the game. 

“It’s important we use this as a way of demonstrating that cricket is a sport that’s open and accessible to all.”

Warwickshire’s last visit to Rugby – on 17 August 2015 – saw Bears fans treated to a century by Will Porterfield and three wickets for Olly Hannon-Dalby as a side led by Varun Chopra claimed a four-wicket One Day Cup win against Sussex.

Warwickshire Members will be required to claim their ticket for each game in advance, free of charge, from 10am on Friday 12 April, with remaining tickets going on general sale on Tuesday 30 April.

For more information about the outground fixtures at Rugby School and to register your interest in tickets, please visit edgbaston.com/rugby-school.

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