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The 'Hundred' - new England/Wales city-based franchise cricket competition

TheLocalYokel

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Traditionally, top level cricket in England and Wales has been founded on the first-class counties. However, from next summer and superimposed on the traditional county competitions will be a new city-based franchise competition following the undoubted success of similar franchised T20 competitions abroad such as the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League in Australia.

However, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided on a different format for its new competition. Instead of 20 six-ball overs per side the Hundred will consist of ten ten-ball overs per side, which actually equates to 16 traditional six-ball overs plus four balls.

Here I will declare an interest in that although a lifelong cricket lover I have little interest in T20 which more and more is becoming a slog-fest. I can only think that 16-4 overs per side will increase this tendency even more. Nevertherless, I am aware that many people do enjoy T20 and it certainly brings in the crowds (and the money) so I try to encompass this genre but I can get no further than lukewarmth.

The eight franchised teams will play at the grounds used by the county cricket clubs in the cities involved, namely:

London: Lords and The Oval
North: Leeds and Manchester
Midlands: Birmingham and Nottingham
South: Southampton
Wales: Cardiff

Although the original intention was for all home games to be played at the venues where the teams are based, because of the disquiet of those counties not included there might be a possibility in the future for some limited hosting at other county grounds.

To this end, those first-class counties outside the eight have agreed to become affiliated with the Hundred team nearest them. The ECB's main reason for the Hundred is to encourage young people to become interested in the game, especially those living in inner city areas. They seem to believe that people from regions outside the immediate area of a Hundred team will look upon the nearest one as 'their' team, and support and watch it.

The issue is particularly contentious in the South West where, despite having two first-class counties and two grounds that have hosted one-day internationals and where cricket is hugely popular with Somerset being one of the best supported sides in the country, the entire South West has been left out of the Hundred.

The ECB believes that because the Cardiff-based franchise is to be regarded as the team representing Gloucestershire and Somerset county cricket clubs as well as Glamorgan CCC, people from the West Country will become ardent fans and travel to Wales to watch the home games and support the team.

This might be an optimistic hope with those many West Country cricket followers who are affronted to be left out of what might become a successful competition. Some feel that having already stuck up a figurative two finders at West Country cricket the ECB might have tried building some bridges.

Instead, the ECB's initial approval was for the name 'Welsh Fire'.

Belatedly conscious that such a name might not be ideal for attracting West Country supporters to travel to support 'their' team which in the first few years at least will play its home games at Cardiff, the name 'Western Fire' has now been trademarked as well. A final decision on naming all the teams will be made at the end of the current Ashes series.


It strikes me that Western Fire might be seen by some Welsh cricket followers as too West of England. Perhaps 'West Britain' or even something neutral such as 'Severn' or 'Severn Esturians' might be less controversial and help to foster support for the new team from both sides of the Severn/Bristol Channel.

The provisional names for the other teams are:

London Spirit (Lords)
Oval Invincibles (The Oval)
Northern Superchargers (Leeds)
Manchester Originals (Manchester)
Birmingham Phoenix (Birmingham)
Trent Rockets (Nottingam)
Southern Brave (Southampton)

It was originally stated by the ECB that none of the team names would include the name of the city in which it was based.
 

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Jerry

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It strikes me that Western Fire might be seen by some Welsh cricket followers as too West of England. Perhaps 'West Britain' or even something neutral such as 'Severn' or 'Severn Esturians' might be less controversial and help to foster support for the new team from both sides of the Severn/Bristol Channel.
It'll be interesting to see what the crowds are like especially with the team not being Wales branded. Generally the Wales brand may have attracted supporters who normally wouldn't be attracted to cricket.
 

TheLocalYokel

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It'll be interesting to see what the crowds are like especially with the team not being Wales branded. Generally the Wales brand may have attracted supporters who normally wouldn't be attracted to cricket.
In my opinion it would have been far more sensible to have had nine teams. The Gloucestershire bid for a franchise for the West Country (ie with Somerset) was turned down by the ECB.

That would have left Wales with its own team at Cardiff with a name that reflected its identity, and another team for the West Country/South West England which has more than enough cricket followers for it to have been well supported even if it was based at Bristol the home of Gloucestershire CCC, the traditional rivals of Somerset.

In fact, Bristol which is not actually in Gloucestershire at all is split cricket-wise, as it is with football and rugby, between the Gloucestershire and Somerset associations with the River Avon that flows through the centre of the city marking the boundary, therefore many Somerset supporters who live in and around the south of the city would have little reason not to follow a 'regional' team even one based in the north of the city at the ground of the 'old enemy'.

They would be far more likely to do that than West Country followers would be to go to Cardiff for the home matches of 'their' supposed team whatever it was called.

Currently the ECB's idea is like asking Bristol football supporters to get behind Cardiff City, or Bluebirds' fans to support Bristol City.

Will Carling once rightly described the Rugby Union as being run by old f*rts. It seems that cricket has its own share of people in high admin places whose grasp of everyday sporting reality is away with the fairies.
 

rollo

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I agree with much of what you say Mr Yokel and although I quite like and see the attraction of the shorter forms of cricket but being a bit of a traditionalist I much prefer the slow burn of a test match with its swings and turns even if after 5 days it ends in a draw or in football terms
nil-nil.

The first test against Australia at Edgebaston attracted over 110,000 spectators a few days ago so there's life in the traditional game yet.
 

Jerry

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That would have left Wales with its own team at Cardiff with a name that reflected its identity, and another team for the West Country/South West England which has more than enough cricket followers for it to have been well supported even if it was based at Bristol the home of Gloucestershire CCC, the traditional rivals of Somerset.
Also it would be able to create a new Severnside derby as well, leading to some hype around the game.
 

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