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Tag Archives: first class cricket

Coming in on a shaky 2 for 22, Gordon Muchall more than steadied the ship with a fine 175.

Well done Much!

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At New Road our Championship match against Worcestershire was played until 19.53.  There was a late start due to rain, there were intervals in play due to rain.  But at a quarter to eight the seamers were still bowling.  Competitive red ball cricket into the evening is possible even in Mid May.

We are in a temperate country, our summer days are long, we could play championship matches into the summer evenings, we would not even have to resort to a pink ball.

There are evening T20’s and evening one day matches.  We play those in the evening so more people can attend.

So tell me again… just why are there no evening Championship matches in June and July?

So sense prevailed.  No one saw any advantages in a reduced program of first class cricket, preferring the more obvious trimming back of limited overs matches, which have proliferated recently.

Championship division one stays as a 9 team concern and the Championship stays as the fantastic 16 match per season event that we know and love.

Would have been mad, having just produced an away Ashes winning England team, also presumably Counties would have risked a lower income from reduced memberships which include Championship matches but not T20.

The ECB have listened…. I’m nervous – this is a new thing, surely that can’t last can it?

But while they are at it….. Summer [and weekend] Championship cricket …..Please?????

As the county season is soon to be upon us, I will introduce to you my good friend Sauve.  A long-standing pillar of the cricket blogging community,  I find him refreshing and debonair.

He is off on a mission to the centre of the nebulous thing that is the County Championship – he may be some time and we wish him the very best of luck.

This could be the last season of the Championship as we know it – the sharman at the ECB are mulling over the entrails of last nights run over urban fox as we speak right now – divining the best configuration for the future format of this most important of English sporting endeavours.  Several of us have a bad feeling about this.

Haling from Essexshire, he will be starting his odyssey at the Ford County Ground, Chelmsford, at Essex’s first game of  the season against Hampshire on 9th April [so no not summer yet…Essex will also be our first opponents of the season next week] You can keep up to date with Sauve’s progress on Twitter @seasonstands and also via his couple of blogs A Season in the Stands; which will be tales from his journey.  And the old faithful republiquecricket. He will be working his way round all 18 county grounds.  He is also featured in Wisden’s cricket blog.

If things go well this season for both of us we will meet up at the finale of the County season, at the Durham v Somerset match.  As both the Championship and what happens to it are subjects close to my heart I expect there could be some updates on his progress on these very pages before that date.

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.

Durham have comfortably won the pink ball experimental match against the MCC by 311 runs.  Neither the pink ball, day and night or flat track conditions managed to hinder Durham’s  wicket taking abilities.  Very much business as usual even in the desert!

It might have been more interesting if the MCC could have got together better than division 2 level opposition, considering that gathered together for the event teams tend not to to do as well as established ones.

The ball seems to have posed few problems for Durham, and so far the comments about lights and picking up the pink ball have been favourable.

The experiment has brought up some interesting points not only about how the ball could be improved but also how dimming daylight can be used tactically in a first class match.

In only his second first class match Scott has taken 8 wickets for Durham.  A trial match perhaps, but he might be a bit useful then?

Fresh from the indignity of having his boots removed from the environs of the outfield of the EPPs first match against Gauteng, England’s most recent test squad call up finally took to the field today for an England XI.

In a rare spell of good weather in what has been an unseasonably wet period, in a rain curtailed match Mark was the most economical bowler conceding 24 runs in 10 overs.

There is a picture of him here in the very white whites that England now sport. The South African Invitational XI v England XI at East London a 2 day warmup match. [This photo may possibly be by Garath Copely,  PA don’t credit the photographer]