Abnormal rains washing away Britain's cricket, golf

Seine River that overflows its banks as heavy rains throughout the country
rains throughout the country (Representational picture) Reuter

An abnormal increase in rainfall in Britain owing to climate change is washing away golf, football and the best loved cricket, a new report said on Wednesday.

The rate of rain-affected cricket matches has more than doubled since 2011. Across the whole County Championship, at least 175 days -- around 16,000 overs -- have been lost in five of the last 10 years.

The report, Game Changer, published by the Climate Coalition that is made up of over 130 organisations comprising Oxfam, the National Trust, WWF-UK and RSPB.

Backed by some of the leading sports bodies and climate scientists, it finds that increasing wet weather linked to climate change is causing more and more scheduled sport to be called off.

The trend is only set to worsen if climate change goes unchecked, warns the report.

For cricket, this is creating financial pressures as well as worries about levels of participation at a grassroots level.

This has led the sport's governing body, the England and Wales Cricket Board, to set aside 2.5 million pounds a year to help recreational clubs keep playing.

"There is clear evidence that climate change has had a huge impact on the game in the form of general wet weather and extreme weather events," ECB's head of participation Dan Musson said in a statement.

"Wet weather has caused a significant loss of fixtures every year in the last five at recreational level and significant flooding in six of the last 10 years," he added.

"In season, the worst year was 2007, with flooding in the Midlands and the Thames Valley. Out of season the worst was 2015-16, when Storms Desmond and Eva badly affected more than 50 community clubs."

The ultimate risk to the game is that increasingly disrupted cricket will lead people to eventually give up and do something else.

Indeed, nearly 40,000 fewer people played cricket in 2015-16 than in 2005-6, a fall of almost a fifth.

The report says Britain's coastline is also at risk from rising sea levels and storm surges.

For some of the UK's most iconic golf courses, coastal erosion is becoming a real problem. The impact on the coastline is two-fold.

One of the oldest courses in the world, Montrose, has been badly affected.

In the last 30 years, the North Sea has advanced 70 metres towards the course, forcing the course to realign some holes and abandon others.

But it is not just Montrose that is endangered. One-sixth of Scotland's golf courses are located on the coast and are at risk from rising sea levels.

Montrose has lost 70 metres of its coastline to the North Sea and is seeking funding to help protect the course, said Montrose Golf Links Director Chris Curnin.

Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds Director Piers Forster said: "We've seen six of the seven wettest years on record since 2000 and record-breaking wet winters in 2014 and 2016 with 150 per cent of the normal rainfall.

"That, combined with rising sea levels and increased storm surges, means that climate change is already affecting the historic game of golf in its birthplace," Forster added.

"Without cutting the carbon emissions driving climate change, sea levels will rise by over a metre and extremely wet winters will become the norm. Many aspects of our lives including the game of golf would struggle to adapt to such a changed world."

Source: IANS