Relegation’s what you need

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< 1 minute read

You know what we’re doing with that headline, right? That’s your theme for the week. Every time your mind idles, hopefully that’ll be what rises to fill the void. You’re welcome.

There’s basically just one thing left to play for in the first division of the County Championship and that’s ‘being in the first division of the County Championship’. Lancashire and Middlesex are the two teams involved in this unseemly squabble and they’re playing each other.

It’s not a ‘winner takes all’ scenario though. The winner might still get relegated. Lancashire need to absolutely hammer Middlesex to stay up. Captain, coach and opening bowler, Glen Chapple, gave a sense of the likelihood of success with this rabble-rousing speech:

“It’s a chance for us to escape, I suppose.”

Lancashire’s chances are further diminished by player availability. If James Anderson’s absence is matched by Steven Finn’s, they will also miss Tom Smith, their top wicket-taker and third-highest run-scorer. Usman Khawaja is also missing and if they’ve been able to draft in Junaid Khan to replace him then bowling isn’t exactly the problem at Old Trafford.

We feel like we’ve been writing about Lancashire’s batting for most of the season, but it’s actually worse than that. Here’s something we wrote in 2008, the last time Lancashire were relegated.

To sum up that piece: Paul Horton, Steven Croft and papering over the cracks with overseas players and imports. Now here are Lancashire’s first-class centurions in 2014:

  • Ashwell Prince – three
  • Paul Horton – two
  • Steven Croft – two
  • Usman Khawaja – one
  • Jos Buttler – one

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as they say in Bolton.


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  1. How things change. When Lancashire won the County Championship in 2011, these same players you are currently deriding were at the top of their game. In that season Steven Croft scored two centuries, on his way to a batting average of almost 32. And Paul Horton scored none centuries, attaining a batting average of over 37. A total of seven first class centuries in that magnificent season set the foundation for the Championship win. Compare that to this season – a paltry nine first class centuries is pure relegation stuff.

    Plus ça change, plus les choses tournent à merde, as they say in Chorley.

  2. If you look at the Division 1 table, the thing that stands out is that Middlesex should be relegated for not actually existing. They could then play in a more suitable division, along with Wessex, Greater Camelot and Brigadoonshire.

    However, there is another way. Lancs were 19 points behind Middlesex at the start of play, but Middlesex are 137 for 7. Getting them all out for less than 200 (a good possibility) would mean Lancs get 3 bowling points for Middlesex’s 0 batting points. If Lancs then score 300 (*) we get 3 batting points. Winning the match therefore means that even if they get all three bowling points we would beat them by at least 19 points. That would put us level in the table. After that the decision is on:

    Most wins – four each
    Fewest losses – six each
    Most points in contests between the two, currently 22-4 to Middlesex.

    So achieving 19 points more than them in this match would be better than the 18 points they achieved over us, and LANCS WOULD AVOID RELEGATION.

    (*) Ah, fair point. Better get back to writing letters to the ECB about Middlesex’s non-existence.

    1. Maybe that’s what we need, a fantasy league made up of literal fantasy teams. Cricinfo and Auntie could have articles like:

      Westeros’ team has been disqualified from the Cross-Reality County Tournament after latest international signing Daenerys “Stormborn” Targaryen brought 3 dragons on to the field, one of whom ate both umpires and the match referee and scared the local spectator’s pet dog. Local captain, Aragorn expressed disappointment that his team were robbed of an opportunity to show some real supremacy on the field.

      “We were robbed of an opportunity to show some real supremacy on the field”, the 3 time king and part-time top order batsman said to an empty press conference after the match.

      After a short disciplinary hearing, a press representative of the IRCC told reporters “we hope that by bannning the Westerosi team, all cricket fans can accept we took strong stand over Ms Targaryean’s on field behaviour that further ugly scenes can be kept merely to arguments about what constitutes racial abuse and whether two teams had a bit of a shoving match outside the dressing rooms”

      A spokesman for Westeros was unavailable for comment although on Twitter Ms Targaryan said all right thinking match officials should fear her, the “mother of dragons”.

    2. “Oz will be without the services of the suspended Tin Man for their difficult trip to Hell, for whom Cerberus makes a welcome return having recovered from a thigh strain.”

    3. My fantasy fantasy league team would include Doctor Who at silly point, Hercules as a first-change bowler, and Mario behind the stumps. With Thor bowling literal thunderbolts at the opposing batsmen, we’d be unstoppable.

  3. 190 for 9 now. The tension could hardly be tenser, or indeed more tense.

    Ten runs for Middlesex gets them A POINT. To get that point back, Lancs would need another 50 runs in their innings. Nobody has ever seen Lancashire score 350. The future of non-existent Middlesex’s first division hopes sits squarely on the probably real shoulders of Ravi Patel and James Harris.

    1. 15 valuable runs for the imaginaries. No matter, we’ll just have to get to 350 tomorrow, or 300 for 1 declared.

    2. Actually 300-8 declared keeps Lancs in play.

      Frankly, both sides deserve relegation this season but only one will go down thanks to lowly Northkolpakshire.

      From my point of view, if you keep throwing a lifeline to a drowning adversary it serves you right if it grabs the line, saves itself and strangles you ruthlessly in the process.

      Still, I profoundly hope the uber-real Middlesex (soon to become an independent state if my political movement the MNP gets off the ground) avoids relegation, not least because our throdkin is better than your throdkin. So there.

  4. “Plus ça change, plus les choses tournent à merde” is at the very top of the Google search engine. Another superb plug for King Cricket tres bien, Bert and Ernie

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