County cricket 40-over one-day tournament format

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The ECB Recreational XI are the 21st side involved in county cricket’s 40-over competition next year. They were needed because how else could you have three leagues of seven teams playing each other home and away with the winners of each league and the best second-placed side going through to semi-finals?

Well, we suppose that 20 teams would have been four leagues of five with the winners of each league going through to semi-finals. That could have worked.

The downside would be that each county would only play eight one-day matches and with fewer games and smaller leagues, too many of the games would be meaningful and keenly contested.

Better that after the first six matches most of the teams have no chance of going through and simply go through the motions for the second half of the league.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. i am amazed that they did not take the chance to have 4 leagues of 5 teams, top four of each league progressing to the next round at which point the remaining 16 teams play each other twice in one giant league, with the top 8 qualifying for a knockout stage. perhaps the 4 that didn’t make it through the opening league stage could form a second competition or ‘supplementary cup’. oh and then maybe the winners of said supplementary cup could play the winners of the original competition in a ‘champions of champions’ final. yeah, i think that sounds suitably complicated, long winded and dull.

  2. You English can’t get your head round the fact that a round-robin stage isn’t a ‘league’, so it’s no surprise you come up with convoluted ways to deal with 20 teams.

    Keep in mind that the well-known “Football League” that has led to your misunderstanding of the word was created precisely to ensure a larger number of less “meaningful” games – it’s nothing new. Perhaps fans, whenever they actually exist, are more interested in seeing their team, than whether the trophy is still at stake!

  3. Yeah, Leicestershire v The ECB Recreational XI is going to have them flocking to the ground to see who can avoid finishing seventh.

    Jonathan, county cricket is not in a position to rely on existing fans.

  4. The ECB Recreational XI is made up of players who can’t get county cricket contracts. This will therefore be the pinnacle of their careers, and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.Hence they will take their mums (possibly other relatives as well, but mainly their mums). This is at least an additional XI people who will attend the tournament, or 28%.

    You need to take a wider view, KC.

  5. If my name were Robin, I would be highly offended at the use of the phrase “round robin” in this post.

    Could you please switch to the correct semantic “Skillset Rank Determination Sequence” (copyright Matthew Hayden).

  6. Bert are you sure their mums will be able to tear themselves away from cooking the Sunday roast, or all those other things that need attention at the weekend? Give the ladies some credit for recognizing a dead game when they see one coming up.

  7. There’s potential for some embarassment, and not much more, isn’t there?

    I agree that this 21st team is a stupid idea, but so is the suggestion that more “meaningful matches” would actually change anything.

  8. Why are XI people 28%?

    I struggled with Rob Key getting 44 in div 2 divided by 3 and…. never mind, back to the Merlot

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