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Hell has frozen over

2011 March 22
by Legsidelizzy

The ECB management committee (three words to send even the worst insomnia sufferer into a coma) have made a seemingly common sense decision with regard to the fixture schedule for 2012.

The County Championship will remain 2 divisions of 9 teams with 16 games.  The T20 group games will be reduced from 16 this season to 10 next season.

The haven’t made any decisions about the Clydesdale competition.  It’s interesting they didn’t use the words CB40 seemingly leaving the door open for this to be a 50 over rather than a 40 over comp.  I’m not holding my breathe on that one though.

The decision does look like the ECB have pretty much shunned any involvement by English clubs in the Champions league because the timings of the season would not allow for that.   On balance, I think this is sensible.  We cannot have our domestic competitions dictated to by a competition that we aren’t even partners in.

Whilst today’s decision has been met with a sigh of relief from most quarters, not everyone is happy.  A small minority of counties actually made money from the increased number of T20 group matches (eg Kent, Somerset).   The Kent CEO has “expressed his disappointment” at the decision.  I’m afraid that’s just tough titties.  The majority of counties (and supporters) wanted the CCC to stay the same and there to be fewer T20 games.  For once the majority rather than the noisy minority seem to have got their way.

I do have sympathy for the plight of the smaller counties – the ones who can’t make money from internationals but I’m afraid they, like all of us, have to learn to cut our cloth appropriately and when I hear stories of Kent’s ridiculously large wage bill (which didn’t translate into on pitch results – they were relegated) my sympathy diminishes a little.

So hurrah to the ECB – credit where it’s due.  A sensible decision.   Words I never thought I’d type.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. March 23, 2011

    Lizzie, perhaps not being English I don’t understand the affection for a structure less than a few years old that has been criticised at every turn, but I’m surprised you think this is a positive move?

    The most immediate problem with 9 counties is they can’t play each other at the same time, so although there are only 16 games, it takes 18 weeks. The 2 bye weeks are either holidays or filled with one-dayers, which makes the fixture confusing (some teams playing 4-day, some one-day matches) and hard to schedule (they need to find team(s) not playing in the same division).

    Personally, I’d like to see them go to three eight team divisions, where the 6 additional teams are derived from Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands. It would help the cricket in those countries; they’d be competitive enough because they are playing either the weakest counties or amongst themselves; and it would cost the ECB very little as those cricket boards could fund them.

    Eight teams would play 14 games each. The CB40 could then be played concurrently between 24 teams in 4 groups of 6 (10 games) with home and away quarter- and semi-finals (4 games decided on aggregate margin) and a final at Lords’ to close out the season. That leaves up to 12 weeks for T20/Champions League and other fixtures (assuming a 26 week season). There is no nice way of scheduling that, but I’d be tempted to schedule the entire county season (and test matches) from April to late-July and then play T20 from then onwards. That is good for crowds as the county games will end in high summer, before the football season starts, while people are on holidays. The T20 can then follow a fairly consistent program of mid-week and weekend games with international player involvement up to the end of the season.

    • Legsidelizzy permalink*
      March 23, 2011

      The structure of the championship is universally liked by almost every player. 3 divisions is a set too far and if things carry as they are financially we may well see county mergers. It clearly hasn’t been criticised left right and centre because almost all of the counties voted to keep it as it is

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