WORCESTERSHIRE had a post-tax surplus of £449,426 for the financial year ending December 31, 2017. 

This compares with a surplus of £428,673 for the previous 12 months.

But both figures included additional distributions of £500,000 from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) which the club treated as income.

Without these additions, the County had an underlying loss of £50,574 for 2017 and of £71,327 for 2016.

But the last two years have still shown steady progress in improving Worcestershire’s financial position, according to the club.

In 2015, the results were boosted by a successful miss-selling claim which would have otherwise led to an underlying loss of £181,621.

Audit group chairman Fanos Hira said: “Although the improvement in 2017 looks on the face of it relatively modest at £20,753, this is after a very substantial increase in cricket wages of £406,842 during the year.

“Therefore the underlying improvements have been substantial.

"There of course remain challenges ahead but the platform or legacy created from former CEO Tom Scott is a strong and improving one.”

A home semi-final against Surrey in the Royal London One-Day Cup helped overall match receipts to increase by £147,726 to £458,322 in the year.

There was an £40,235 increase in membership income to £442,458 — a rise of 10 per cent which Hira saidwas “pleasing in challenging economic times and hopefully sustainable”.

The catering turnover increased dramatically with a modest improvement in the loss in 2016 of £64, 351 reduced to £19, 225 to 2017.

This included the start-up costs in refurbishing and creating Foley’s coffee house and eatery which remains an area of focus in the coming year.

The performance of the club's commercial side resulted in strong initiatives with major sponsorship deals.

Hira said: “Lessons have been learnt from the historic concert hosting with improvements expected in the coming year.”

The club’s financial statement in the 2018 annual report read: “The underlying loss has markedly reduced, reflecting the increased focus under CEO Tom Scott’s leadership on catering and commercial activities, lower levels of interest rates on debt and reduced costs.

“However, there remains plenty of challenges ahead. We continue to focus on cost reduction in the business and seeking additional income from our assets.

“The club’s focus will be on proving its return on its enviable facilities and reducing its debt levels so that more can be put back into cricket operations.”

Former County spinner Matthew Rawnsley has taken over from Scott this month as the new CEO at Blackfinch New Road.