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Category Archives: ECB Slackers

Came across this a while back…the ‘ECB fuckup’ early warning system, you know it makes sense!

For a jolly good blog on all things Yorkshire CCC, you can’t do much better than take a look at Yorkshire Lens excellent Last of the Summer Whine, where this and similar good things live.  In the meantime the current clash between Yorks and us unfolds .

While I have been away it seems people are being mean to Giles  Clark.  Accused of vandalism of the County Championship now.  And Gilesywilesy was reported as visibly shaken.  Diddums!  I’d also like to see him banned from corporate boxes and sat outside all day at a venue such as the glorious Riverside early next season!

Don’t forget, many things slip off the hook when elections happen and the ECB are one of those to have been handed a lifeline in the shape of the general election.  This means the thorny subject of the Ashes and its status as a ‘must be broadcast free to air event’ [the so called ‘crown jewels’ list of British sport] due to be decided this June, now of course will not be.

So there, the ECB will have lots of lovely time to think about how it can get cricket on the free to air box, whilst not pissing it’s purse string holder, Sky, off! How about some domestic Twenty20 finals at the very least?  Worth a barter surely?  And Sky could try to benevolent as part of it’s ongoing Ofcom squabbling?

The Season; it used to start just before May!

The blog the Corridor has also noted this

” Last year it started on April 15; in 2008, it was the 16th. 2007? The 18th. The first Championship matches of the new millenium began on April 26″.

What is the point for this seasonal creep stupidity.  They actively want people to turn up and freeze, that is if the weather or bad light does not intervene.  They want cold players risk more injury?

I know Airlines are starting to sponsor Counties, but the carbon footprint does need to be addressed.

Start scheduling championship matches back into the summer – there is that talk about playing the first few out of the country now because someone has just noticed that early April is not a time when you should be playing cricket…..Abu Dhabi and Barbados, are not British or local?

Actually the weather is set for fair, so hopefully it will be a nice weekend [and that is rare]!

For a spot of what team is who you could look at Dan’s cricket blog. He has quite an extensive resume of the teams for this season.

Wednesday and Durham get their first warm up match in English conditions.

Is warm up the right word?  If Gary Keedy – Yorkshire type, Lancashire player and as generically northern as they come, finds the temperature a tad nippy at this time of year…….

He’ll be warming up with Lancashire and the Durham lads, hope no one gets frozen to the spot, …. thermos man and his dog included.

OK a week till Durham play their first match, and the team photo’s have been done….  This is from last year and it has had the Ceci and Mel treatment, needless to say I have always loved it.

If you have not come across their brand of quick of the draw, topical hilarity,  click on this Swanning About link right away.  Class acts don’t come much classier!

Oh yeah they are not overly fond of the ECB either…

Sky has been allowed to be the be all and end all of British Cricket, well by the ECB anyway….. and yet there is viewer appetite for cricket on free to air, even if it is not test stuff as had been shown by ITV 4.

Siddle b Flintoff 7. Australia 388 for 9. Andrew Flintoff celebrates his five-wicket haul as England close in on their first win at Lords against Australia for 75 years.  Andrew also becomes fifth man to get on Lord’s honours board with bat and ball.

How many kids saw this moment live?  How many kids saw this moment at the time of the Ashes series?  How many kids actually know this moment existed?  Ok the kids may have been at school – but there were 5 Ashes matches some took place over the holidays, how many kids caught up with Ashes action?

How many urban kids?  How many from the heartlands of the greenfield rich countryside? Deepest Oxfordshire; in a small village called East Hendred. The very kind of place you would expect cricket still to be thriving;  but the view from Mel, of the fantastic Ceci and Mel, of Swanning about fame, paints a rather grim picture even from the rather more privileged areas of the county.  “The people in the village (who all educate their children privately) provide the bulk of the junior cricketers for our village team; those in state education (including my own lovely offspring) just aren’t interested unless they come from a cricket mad family”.

If Mel is not cricket mad enough, then the sport has problems.

She wrote this in reply to a Wisden Cricketer blog on the subject of cricket, TV and the ECB, from March 25th.

Unless they are from a ‘cricket’ family, I’m afraid that all of my kids’ friends are ambivalent at best about cricket. Ask them to name a current England player and most have to think a bit before coming up with Flintoff or KP; most don’t know how to play the game because sport at their school is run on an elective basis – therefore they don’t opt for cricket as they know nothing about it. The Ashes victory last summer passed most of them by.

It’s a real shame as it’s not as if they are not interested in sport – most of them love to play or watch football – but now that cricket isn’t something you come across on terrestrial tv but something which you have to actively seek out on a satellite channel it just doesn’t register on their radar. The highlights package on Five during home games just isn’t enough.

As a consequence, our local cricket club’s junior section mostly consists of the offspring of the senior players.

Shame.

The ECB may be using Sky money for a few lucky children, but the sport as a whole is slipping from the national conciousness.

The standard of current four day championship cricket in Division one is very high.  The above was an exciting match from an exciting and tense 2008 season.  But Mr Collier is on the record as saying ” the cost of a new-look County Championship will be the loss of some of the integrity of the two-division structure.” So change, but not progress; worrying.

Angus Porter of the Professional Cricketer’s Association has called for clarity and early decisions from the ECB as to what it’s proposals are for the Championship, and reduction of matches not only in the Championship but also other forms of domestic county cricket.

“I do not think the players would necessarily go with the Championship as the only place to reduce. They also want a closer look at 40-over cricket and I think they are nervous that we might be overdoing Twenty20″…..

“We must make sure we structure the schedule correctly in 2011 and beyond to fit in the right amount of cricket and move from quantity to quality.”

The players want a reduction in total playing days, and for that reduction to be honoured and not turned into some other add on to a different competition.  Some rational, some sense.

The mismatch of the MCC v Durham clash, where the MCC side was drawn mainly from the second division should have been enough to kill off any idea that randomly drawn conferences would be useful to the further development of the game or player quality.

Change does not always make things better.  What are the ECB actually trying to achieve?

Cut down the number of matches? There are many ways of doing that, but not all of them will result in less, but more challenging games.

More meaningful challenging cricket?  So less matches and matches of an intensity that pits the best against the best.  Where players are ready, rested and at their peak to perform to the max.

So merit groups or a random groups?  The ECB has yet to come out about how they view either in terms of better quality cricket.

A conference of non merit groups [either totally random or regional]; more mismatched matches, less testing cricket for the best players, and those matches will be less of a spectacle for any spectators not turned off by the prospect.

MCC v Durham type standard  is what you would get more of, not less; so a greater proportion of dross, and less games.  Most matches would be dross.

So conference match reduction; the players get more time to rest, travel less, but waste that precious playing time, and that of any spectators.  People turning out for a ‘rare and supposed spectacle of a damp squib’ – I think not. [And in the cold of an April day,  give us a break….]

I have yet to find anyone who actively watches county cricket [rather than just writes about it] that is in favour of non merit groupings.

Ok we are talking Changes in first class cricket here.  Coming back from the Abu Dhabi match Will, Durham’s Captain has been thinking and deciding what might be good change and what might not.  As we know not all change makes things better.

Re the County Championship, at present he is not in favour of a three conference structure, he does not beleiver it “would work that well.’’   He does however seem impressed with the pink ball.

The ECB have also been thinking about change.  They tend to think of it in a more abstract way than most mortals.  And when Mr Collier is on the record as saying ” the cost of a new-look County Championship will be the loss of some of the integrity of the two-division structure.” you realise that betterment of the sport is not at the heart of any thought processes going on at ECB towers right now.