Essex decide to scrap 2012 Southend Cricket Festival

Essex have scrapped the 2012 Southend Cricket Festival.

Next year's games will be played at the Chelmsford County Ground instead after the club committee met on Tuesday.

Traditionally, the County have played one County Championship match and one limited-overs game in the town each season and a return to Southend in the future has not been ruled out.

Essex have played matches at Garon Park in Southend since 2005, and at Southchurch Park since 1906.

Chief executive David East told the club website: "It is very sad that after 105 years of first-class cricket in Southend that we will not be returning in 2012.

"The door has certainly not been closed on future festival cricket in the south of the county, but at this time the club committee felt that our focus should be at Chelmsford."

"We remain fully supportive of the project to improve and grow the community facilities at Garon Park, and the fulfilment of these plans may open the door for future first-class cricket at the ground."

Festival chairman Mike Smith said: "This is a sad day for many cricket lovers in south Essex and beyond. It is now critical that we deal with all the issues, including development of the cricket community centre at Garon Park, so that we are in a position to attract first-class cricket back to Southend."