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Re: 3 conference County Championship
Posted by: Supporting Middlesex since 1999
Date: 17/04/2018 19:18
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.

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