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3 conference County Championship
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
17 January, 2018 19:30
Although I have only just seen a snippet on Twitter of this,according to an article in today's Times,counties are in favour of a 3 conference County Championship.
It states Counties have approached Harison about it.
How would it take place?
Would it be 6 counties in each?
5 home games?
Also says no promotion or relegation,but play-off and a final to get the County Champions.
Someone said each year groups would be draw and no group would be same year after year.

Not sure I like this idea myself.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
17 January, 2018 20:07
I am not sure why plans for a conference system have re-surfaced after being speculated-about a few years’ ago. Yes, England had yet another poor Ashes tour, but I fail to see how a conference system would give them better preparation for Ashes tours (and other series) than the present system.

If the counties are divided into 3 conferences each containing 6 teams, then I think that the way it would work would be that each county would play the 12 teams in the 2 other conferences, yet not play anyone from their own conference. If there are play-offs, then it would surely be to determine issues such as the destination of the County Championship trophy and each team’s finishing position.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
17 January, 2018 20:08
Maybe the counties who are permanently stuck in Division 2 like Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan like the idea, because it means they will get one or two matches against better opposition, but this would mean regional cricket, with us never playing Lancashire or Yorkshire in the championship again.

Every time you think they couldn't possibly come up with a worse idea they manage to do it.

Edit- I see this time they are saying it won't be 'regional' but it will totally undo all the good of having 2 divisions.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 17/01/2018 20:11 by chunkyinargyll.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
selincourt (IP Logged)
18 January, 2018 12:34
Further details in the Times today. The 18 counties would be split into three six-team conferences of roughly equal strength, with the teams playing one another home and away. Depending on their final positions in each of these groups after ten games, the counties would then be divided into three further conferences and would play the other teams in that conference just once. Points from the first ten games would be carried forward and added to those gained in the final five matches to produce a full 18-team table at the end of the season.
It is proposed that the winners should get £1m split between the club and the players, and there would be prize money down to 15th place.
This seems to me an inspired idea. It maintains the eighteen counties, it leads to more competition, it avoids play -offs, and could rejuvenate First Class cricket.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 18/01/2018 12:36 by selincourt.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
18 January, 2018 14:02
That would mean more four day cricket.

Something I thought the ECB were keen to avoid.

If they are willing to countenance 15 four day matches they might as well go back to two divisions of nine and sixteen matches.

Talk about trying to complicate something that ought to be dead simple.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
18 January, 2018 15:11
Simple is sod the conference system and do the following.

3 x divisions of 6 counties in each playing home and away (10 fixtures)

1 side promoted and 1 relegated from each division . No relegation from div 3 unless the minor counties get involved in which case Leicester might have some jeopardy in their season.

Lower percentage of sides being relegated/promoted which is currently 25% in div one (way to high, you could never imagine the Premier League in football relegating 6 sides could you ?).

If really thought necessary the tweak of promotion/relegation play offs could be introduced but in my opinion a league should be over a season not 4 days to decide who goes up and down.

As usual it will never come to fruition as the £££ counters at the "big" clubs would never take the loss of revenue from the game the ECB tell us is poorly supported/attended.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
18 January, 2018 19:59
An article about this has appeared on Cricbuzz, which says that the proposals were made by Yorkshire chief executive Mark Arthur and their director of cricket Martyn Moxon.

Now I have read the proposals in detail, I actually like the sound of it. Six complaints which I have heard made of the current structure are that 10 counties begin each season unable to win the County Championship title, that many counties feel under pressure to think short-term in order to retain/attain division one status, that only 7 counties get prize money, that many teams in division two end the season with little to play for, that teams can go several seasons without playing a particular opponent in the Championship, and that players in division two are unable to face top-quality opposition. A conference system would go some way - if not the whole way - to removing those issues.

It is also great that it is anticipated that the new system would help sustain the existence of an 18-county structure, as some people have expressed fears that the arrival of the city-based Twenty20 competition may be a precursor to first-class and/or List A cricket being played by cities as opposed to counties.

Still, we will have to see whether a conference system would solve other issues, such as there not being much Championship cricket in the core summer months for supporters to watch and spinners to play in.

An article on Cricinfo says that an alternative format would be initially having two conferences of nine, and that ECB may be more favourable to that due to it meaning that each county would play 13 matches instead of 15.

If the proposals are implemented (not that there are any indications that it will be), let's hope that no-one finds it confusing!

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Sussex Seaxe (IP Logged)
19 January, 2018 14:18
I agree with you Jonathan. It seems to me that this proposal could breathe life into what, to some, is a much under appreciated competition.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
19 January, 2018 15:36
Another idea connected with this....
Two conferences of 9 counties,each playing other county twice home and away.Giving 16 games per season.The top county of Conference A (call that 1st Div?) Wins the championship and bottom two clubs are relegated to Conference B (call that Div 2?).
Top club of that division wins that league and,along with second placed county gets promotion to Div 1.
Just an idea,might work.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
tallliman (IP Logged)
20 January, 2018 08:44
I like that idea Beefy, any evidence as to whether it would work? ;-)

My issue with the conference ideas is that a second group stage means we don't know the fixtures until later in the season so it means a narrative and how we plan late season cricket watching can't fully form. Also, 10 games could mean (as it felt last year was with only 14 games to some extent) that rain/luck defines who is successful. The counter argument is of course that it makes each game more vital.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
20 January, 2018 14:33
Also,with a second group stage,when would the games be played?
Season goes virtually to end of September as it is.
Agree with Talliman as well with planning for fixtures,and what players will be available with test/one day/resting orders by ECB in place?

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Hants01 (IP Logged)
21 January, 2018 11:42
Personally, my view on Conferences could be definitively settled by finding out whether Rod Bransgrove is in favour or not. If he is favour, I would oppose the idea; if he is opposed, then I would support the idea. Generally, it's a good thing to find out what his view is, because in my opinion he is usually wrong.

There are some very attractive merits of Conferences. I do not want to go down the football route whereby the better players in county cricket (those who bother to play here and don't decamp to an Indian circus) are concentrated at a few rich counties. We know- Leicester being the fluke of all flukes- that the Premiership in football is the six plus fourteen league, with the vast majority of sides just making up the numbers. County cricket must be better than that. It can't be right that counties like Gloucestershire and Leicestershire, who have produced England players (more than my own at Bransgrove's) are permanently entrenched in the Second Division. And what if they have effectively given up on red ball cricket? That's dangerous. We must not have Warwwickshire, Notts and Surrey winning everything by dint of the chequebook.

If the proposed reform ends up with an extra game, that is one in the eye to the Graves and Bransgroves of this cricket world who want to put the emphasis on franchise rubbish here.

I think Championship cricket does need reform. Personally I would now sling out the overseas players, or confine them to a Second Division. Middlesex once had Haynes and Daniel, my own county Greenidge and Marshall. Now they are mostly second or third raters, novices or those coming to the end of their careers (er...George Bailey for example!). I have no problem with the Indian circus gobbling up world-class players who may well have spent summers in England building up an affinity with a county. But let's not saddle ourselves with what for the most is rubbish. Of course there are the Surreys and somersets whop have rolled out the red carpet to young Australians who can return with the skills and knowledge acquired to beat us.

The counties need to come together and remember their enemies are, in my view the ECB, that never wastes a moment, humiliating and downgrading county cricket, whether it's the proposed franchises, supporting the IPL rather than the CC, taking players from counties during the summer to face tourists, having the season opener in the Middle East, or whatever. The counties do need to end divide and rule and probably Conferences in the best way. It can't be right that counties like Yorkshire and Middlesex who produce so many England players are then relegated or relegation-threatened for their efforts.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 21/01/2018 11:46 by Hants01.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Seaxe_Man (IP Logged)
12 February, 2018 12:20
As is the usual practice. After an Ashes defeat there has to be an autopsy as to why, and then carve the body of English First Class Cricket up.

The idea that the Australians on their own pitches might prove to be the better team does'nt catch on.

One of the 'experts' reckons playing less championship cricket will bring about improvement, although on what grounds are left unexplained.

Carrying that suggestion to the nth degree suggests if we play no Championship cricket, then we win every time.

An early turning point I reckon was at Brisbane, where Vince for the only time got well in and looked century bound until unwisely taking a quick single to Lyon.

That runout turned that match their way and they never looked back.

As regards the Conference. Sounds complicated, the bonus being an extra first class match clawing back one of the two lost.

The prize money touted of one million quid could surely be distributed on the current set-up.

Admittedly, Graves meddling with the championship, 8 in first, two relegated and 10 in second playing four only once ain't helped.

A return to 9+9 playing 16 games would be a better bet and you may have to go back to 3 up and down to encourage the second division teams, who as I read in the Cricket Paper have been strengthening.

In addition, the Big Bash crowds are reported to be down. Whether enthusiasm here can be maintained by Harrison until 2020 remains to be seen.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Jonathan Winsky (IP Logged)
17 April, 2018 20:18
On Cricinfo, George Dobell reports that an ECB working party meeting will take place in the coming days, where it is expected to be agreed that a conference system should be adopted in the County Championship as of 2020, although a downside is that the amount of matches played by each county may be reduced to 12, which will disappoint those hoping that the system would result in teams playing 15 matches. I am not sure how a conference system in which each team plays 12 matches would work out.

Still, I am very happy to hear that the conference system is likely to be introduced, as it would hopefully enable teams to think long-term rather that feel pressurised to make short-term decisions to either avoid relegation or achieve promotion, as teams would know that even if they have a couple of bad seasons, they can use the experience to then mount a title challenge.

However, if it is confirmed that a conference system is to be introduced, then it would reduce the relevance of promotion and relegation in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, as teams will know that regardless of where they finish in the next couple of seasons, they will all start as equals in 2020. Without promotion and relegation, the 2019 Championship competition may consequently contain little intrigue other than who wins the competition, much like when it was one division. I suppose it would make sense to introduce the new system as of 2019, although I think ECB are committed to the current structure until the end of that season.

Three other issues to be discussed at the meeting are whether the 50-over competition should be played as a knockout competition also involving Minor Counties, whether counties should play 50-over matches, Championship matches or a mixture of the two while the city-based Twenty20 competition takes place, and whether counties should be allowed to sign recently-released professionals to replace players away at the city-based competition. With regards to the idea of a making the 50-over competition a knockout one, wouldn’t that mean that some counties may only play one List A match a season? With regards to the type of county cricket played during the city-based competition, it was originally expected that 50-over matches would be played, but some counties would prefer the 50-over matches to be played when the city-based competition is not taking place in order to achieve more commercial opportunities.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
BeefyRoberts (IP Logged)
17 April, 2018 20:45
12 county games? Why not,let's cut the county game even more..I really hope we don't lose even more games,only 14 now.
I like the idea of a knock-out style 50 over tournament with minor counties involved,I'm sure there was something done in the past the same set up! If this takes place during franchise cc it should give us the chance of more outgrounds to visit.
But,to reduce county games even more,if only by 2,I'm not impressed with.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
chunkyinargyll (IP Logged)
17 April, 2018 21:15
JW- When I was a kid Derbyshire were regularly 15th, 16th or 17th out of 17.

Going to a conference system won't improve them because there is no fear of relegation. It will just mean that not only will there only be 12 games, some of those 12 games will be mismatches.

I can see a lot of people seem to think it is a good idea, but I can't see it improving the standard of the usual four suspects that always end up in the bottom half of Division two, it just means teams who are used to playing in Division one will have a few crushing victories to look forward to.

I can't see it driving standards up. Quite the opposite in fact.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
tbl (IP Logged)
17 April, 2018 22:22
Presumably the conference would play the league games in April to June and the play offs in September? This would do nothing to change the fundamental problem of playing first class cricket in conditions mainly suitable for medium fast bowlers.

I'm not averse to 3 divisions of 6 but I think promotion and relegation are key to improvement - otherwise too many games are dead.

Unlike Hants01, I would like to increase the number of overseas players playing in the CC as this would only increase the standard of play. Perhaps this should be restricted to overseas players under the age of 25 rather than ageing stars, ideally with a reciprcoal arrangement whereby young English players can play in overseas leagues.

Re: 3 conference County Championship
Patsy_Hendren (IP Logged)
18 April, 2018 09:53
You are correct, Beefy. There was a 39 team limited-over competition several years ago which included the Minor Counties.

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