First Team Star
Jan 15, 2014, 7:59 PM
Location: A small town in Monmouthshire
Team(s): Calne Town, Darlington, Rosenborg, Sussex CCC, Huddersfield RL
Oh no not again!!
Re: [cope1] Ashes 2013-14: Ex-ECB chairman calls for county cricket overhaul
This sort of thing gets dredged up all the time. The only bit thats slightly true is that you wouldn't start by having 18 now, but immediately he makes a fool of himself by recommending amalgamating Kent and Sussex simply because "they are next to each other". This takes no account of how successful a county Sussex are financially and performance wise.
He says "nobody watches County Cricket" which only proves that he doesn't. Two years ago Worcester got 3,500 for the first day of the season. Somerset for another also get regular 3,000 crowds. In fact Worcs get bigger crowds for some 4 day games than they do for the Limited Overs stuff.
There was a much more balanced report published two years ago that showed crowd numbers and membership numbers for all 18, plus their financial state, that would be the starting point if you wanted to do this. But it doesn't support this sort of agenda;
Basket cases were: Leicestershire, Glamorgan, Northants (yet they won the T20 and got promoted last year!!), not far behind are Lancashire, Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Kent.
There's the problem, some of the Test Counties are in big financial trouble, as are Durham in fact, despite winning the Title this year. The trouble is just like the "franchise" argument the facts won't fit neatly into what the likes of McLaurin want to do. Predominantly the most successful Counties are those where Cricket is still the main attraction in the County town, the big City Clubs get terrible crowds except for the odd T20 game and have mortgaged themselves to get test cricket running up huge debts in the process.
Aside from the difficulty of making it work, I am unconvinced that it would make much of a difference to Player Development. The Championship is the hardest first Class competition in the World by some distance. the problem is the England structure is run by people that don't think it is, players are taken out of the County game too much, miss out on Development and get messed around with by coaches who have their own agenda. Witness the debacle of Steven Finn, make no mistake, the England set up is what has ruined him NOT County Cricket. The very fact that we have such a spread of First Class cricket is a great aid to developing players to the highest possible level. There are Australian players who drop out of tests straight into Grade cricket for example...
Anyway, If you want to play the game of 18 into 12, I would have a stab at: Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Somerset & Glos, Sussex, Surrey & Kent, Essex, Leics and Northants combined, Worcester & Warwicks (never happen!!), Notts & Derbys (again never going to happen), Middlesex, Hampshire and get rid of Glamorgan completely.
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