ECB County Championship Format Feedback

Our lobbying to the ECB paid off and we were given the opportunity to collect your feedback on what format you’d like to see for the County Championship 2022. Hundreds of your gave your opinion which we passed onto the ECB and the First Class Counties and which formed part of their discussions before a decision was made.

It was a pretty even split with the conference and two divisions both favoured for a variety of reasons. We know the two divisions will have made some of you happy and some of you not so much. Thank you to all of you who contributed your opinions, comments and alternative ideas and schedules.

Please find below a combined and condensed version of your feedback:

2 Divisions (10/8) Pro’s

  • Simpler format with a good history
  • More meaningful games throughout the competition
  • Relegation/promotion tests players under pressure
  • Schedule set out in advance
  • Cricket throughout the season
  • More evenly contested games
  • Best play the best
  • Less element of chance – rewards sides that perform consistently well
  • Assists in producing good players for Test cricket
  • Attracts the best players
  • Excitement of promotion and relegation battles
  • Appreciation for two divisions of nine, two divisions of eight or 10 or three divisions of six
  • If reverting to this – should go back to 2019 results
  • Simple to understand
  • Each team plays the same number of games (two divisions, nine teams)
  • Higher concentration of talent amongst the top teams, hopefully leading to better player development
  • Arguably more meritocratic than conference system

2 Divisions (10/8) Con’s

  • Counties marooned in div 2 – no chance of winning the title
  • Counties doomed to stagnation
  • Lack of variety in fixtures
  • Lack of integrity when not playing each other twice (some support for 3 divisions to address this and schedule more games in summer)
  • Short term player management and losing of players to the higher division
  • Potentially not a very entertaining product
  • Points system – needs to incentivise teams to win
  • Scheduling – play county championship cricket throughout the season

Group/divisional (conference) format Pro’s

  • Variety in team fixtures
  • Theoretically every county can win it
  • Potentially better player retention
  • More entertaining product – battle for division one
  • Three divisions keeps it invigorating and interesting
  • This format opens up opportunities to get National Counties involved
  • The random element in the first group means counties can be pitted against less familiar opposition
  • BWT at Lord’s offers an exciting finale
  • Joy in seeing ‘my’ team win in Division Three – and the players must have felt that as well
  • Start of season – excellent coverage and a buzz around the county championship but this fell away for the second half
  • Good mix of opponents creating match ups that have been missing
  • Cutting down of travelling time and reducing costs
  • Opportunity to protect local rivalry matches

Group/divisional (conference) format Con’s

  • 24 guaranteed dead matches in September
  • 12 counties nothing to play for
  • Complex point system
  • Carry forward creates distortions
  • Fixtures announced late on
  • Three months in between fixtures
  • Only works for top six teams
  • Potential of creation of the ‘big six’ teams – stay the same and no other team gets a look in
  • Not much to play for in divisions two and three – need to incentivise? Trophy for each division?
  • Points system in no way encourages new fans of the game – too complicated
  • The BWT complicates it – who are the county champions, the team that finishes top of division one or the winner of the BWT?
  • Scheduling – play red ball county cricket throughout the season
  • Excessive travelling
  • Miss playing local teams
  • Talent becomes spread thinly again and you lose the ‘best v best’ concept
  • Gulf in class between the best and the rest makes for one-sided games
  • The smaller counties do not provide ideal preparation for players who are preparing for test cricket
  • Hard to follow

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