Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Winners and Losers At The End of The Season

The County Championship is much maligned. With sparse crowds and odd fixture lists, the LVCC isn't so much ridiculed as ignored.

But the four day championship is the platform for potential England stars to impress, as well as the stage for current and former ones to shine. This year we've had Steven Finn taking a 9-for, Stuart Broad taking an 8-for, as well as aspiring England players Hildreth and Lyth at the top of the run scorers charts. Everyone's in agreement that test cricket is the purest form of cricket, and the English domestic County Championship is the breeding ground for test cricket. And as well as that, it's pretty funking exciting.

Today's final day of the season had everything. Stubborn batting, inspired bowling. Teams contriving to lose, and gallant victories from nowhere. Teams fighting for promotion, relegation and championships. This whole season has been incredibly tight, and deserved the climax it got. Fortunately rain didn't play (much of) a part in the final day's proceedings, and there were no wink-wink nudge-nudge declarations. There was only fiercely competed cricket, with high drama, excitement, and more twists than Inception (apparently... I haven't seen it...)

Today's winners? Well, Nottinghamshire won Division One; well deserved after a season leading from the front with some outstanding cricket throughout. It's only fitting that Andre Adams took the crucial wicket needed; his 69th of the season and most out of everybody. Worcestershire also big winners; clinching what at one stage was the unlikeliest of promotions from the clutches of Glamorgan. Warwickshire got the win they needed to avoid relegation with Kent the unlucky (or lucky, depending on how you look at it) side who will drop into Division Two.

But the biggest winner? The County Championship itself. Talk of reform in the county game has been ongoing all year, with talk of three divisions, regional based conferences, reduced matches and increased restrictions undermining the current system. While changes may well be implemented, the fact that two nine team leagues each playing 16 times can go down to the final hour of the season shows that entertainment wise, there is no need to alter the current state of affairs. The two divisional system may or may not return, but if it doesn't, what a send off it got today.

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