WORCESTERSHIRE have revealed a £38,221 profit for the 2018 financial year ending on December 31.

This occurred despite a conscious effort to substantially increase spend on cricket, significant further investment in facilities, higher taxation and increased depreciation charges.

After a post-tax profit of £449,426 in 2017, chairman Fanos Hira says “the financial clouds and burdens of the past appear to be lifting” and he is optimistic for the County's future.

Last year's profit included a £533,333 England and Wales Cricket Board contribution which was increased from £500,000 in 2017.

Hira said: “We are very comfortable with where we are at and more importantly we are comfortable with where we are heading.

“Our primary purpose is to reduce debt and continue to invest more in cricket and members’ facilities.

“It is fair to say on an underlying basis that profitability was predictably lower and the reason why was because we deliberately spent substantially more on cricket and in improving our facilities at Blackfinch New Road.

“Yet despite those substantial increases in higher cricket costs and despite the fact we spent so much more on our ground debt levels continue to decline.

"Total debt has reduced since the end of 2015 by £683,000 to £4.878million.

“We are hopeful that within four years our debt will be more than halved and I am keen under my chairmanship that we have sufficient flexibility and reserves to make sure we are never beholden to anyone.

“The board views the operational performance at the club as mixed with much still to focus on.”

Worcestershire finance manager Sarah Gluyas said: “Cricketing costs have been significantly increased during 2018 and that is across a range of different areas.

“The bulk of it is in player and staff wages. The squad size has increased and it’s also about recognising the elite level of skill in the coaching and cricket support staff.

“In addition costs have increased in terms of hotels, travel, out-ground rentals and players' clothing through increasing quality of the garments.

“We also spent in excess of a third of a million on the infrastructure, including new scoreboard, blotter and the Ladies' Pavilion — in part supported by the generous and welcome donations from the Supporters’ Association."