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


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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.
 

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.
 

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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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The Hundred team that is supposed to represent the cricketing first-class counties of Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Somerset will it seems definitely be called Welsh Fire, with its base and all its home games played at Cardiff. The first players have been selected for the various Hundred teams today.

The Hundred teams also have a women's section and the Welsh Fire female team will play its home matches at Bristol and Taunton - two of the principal towns of the Principality. You couldn't make it up. Well you could because it's the ECB.

I wonder what Glamorgan CCC cricket followers would think about a team that was supposed to represent them being called West of England Wonders.
 

lbaspotter

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The Hundred Draft takes place this evening live at 19:00hrs on Sky Sports, Sky Sports News, Sky One, BBC Online & BBC Iplayer

How does the draft work?

  • The eight teams will take it in turns to pick a player to complete their 15-man squads, and they will have 100 seconds to make their choice.
  • There are seven set salary bands, with two players to be picked at each of the following: £125,000, £100,000, £75,000, £60,000, £50,000, £40,000 and £30,000. Captains will receive a bonus of £10,000.
  • Each team can have three overseas players. They can also have two 'local icons' from their catchment counties, which have already been selected.
  • Australians Steve Smith, Warner and Mitchell Starc are in the highest price bracket, along with West Indies batsman Gayle, Sri Lanka bowler Malinga and Kagiso Rabada of South Africa.
  • If a player is not chosen at their base price, then they won't be selected in the draft - they could, however, be called up during the tournament as an injury replacement for another player.
  • Those with a lower reserve price have the chance to be drafted at a higher price.
  • The final spot in the teams will be filled next summer when teams can offer a £30,000 contract to a player who has caught their eye in the preceding T20 Blast competition.

15052

Trent Rockets will have the first pick in the draft, which then snakes around the sides as seen above
 

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I wonder how Yorkshire supporters will react when their own Joe Root turns up at Headingley playing for the Nottingham-based Trent Rockets against the Leeds-based Northern Superchargers, whose own England central contract player is Durham's Ben Stokes. Will they want Root to fail? Probably hope that he does well personally but that Trent Rockets lose.

The days are long gone when Yorkshire would only have players who were Yorkshire-born. In my adult lifetime players had to 'qualify' for a county not of their birth by some form of residence or association. The great Sir Vivian Richards had to play a season for a Bath club side in the summer of 1973 before he was allowed to play for Somerset.

Pre-war Somerset CCC, who were always short of cash in those days and who regularly gave amateurs of dubious standard a game because they couldn't afford too many professionals, once duped Lords when signing a player called Lowrie. They registered him as being born at Wellington which Lords assumed was the small town near Taunton, whereas in fact Lowrie was a New Zealander born in his country's capital city.
 

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I wasn't aware of it before but there is a ten-overs per side competition (T10) in Abu Dhabi at the moment involving a number of franchised teams with squads made up of first-class and test cricketers cricketers from around the cricket-playing world. It's apparently the third year of the competition.

Our son and his wife are in Abu Dhabi at the moment and are hoping to see one of the day's play this week, although the UAE President's brother has just died leading to three days national mourning. It's not clear if this will affect the cricket. Our son and his wife were in an Abu Dhabi restaurant earlier today when the music was turned off as a mark of respect.

I watched a bit of one match today on FreeView channel two hundred and eight and a half or something to get an idea of what T10 is all about. It seems to be what it says on the label - an even shorter version of T20. I love cricket but when the game is pared down to this level I find it hard to watch as a serious contest, even when accomplished cricketers are involved.

I previously mentioned that just when I thought that T20 is as brief a version of cricket as anyone would surely want, along comes The Hundred at 16 over and four balls per side. Now we have a ten overs per side competition.

I suppose the ultimate will be a one ball per side league, or just sit in the pavilion and throw dice.
 

lbaspotter

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So the 2020 fixtures were released today for The Hundred

Men's The Hundred

(All games start at 18:30 BST unless stated)

Friday, 17 July, 2020
Oval Invincibles v Welsh Fire (Kia Oval)
Saturday, 18 July, 2020
Birmingham Phoenix v London Spirit (Edgbaston), 14:00 BST
Manchester Originals v Northern Superchargers (Emirates Old Trafford), 17:00 BST
Sunday, 19 July, 2020
Welsh Fire v Southern Brave (Sophia Gardens), 14:00 BST
Trent Rockets v Birmingham Phoenix (Trent Bridge), 17:00 BST
Monday, 20 July, 2020
Northern Superchargers v Oval Invincibles (Emerald Headingley)
Tuesday, 21 July, 2020
London Spirit v Trent Rockets (Lord's)
Wednesday, 22 July, 2020
Southern Brave v Manchester Originals (Ageas Bowl)
Thursday, 23 July, 2020
London Spirit v Northern Superchargers (Lord's)
Friday, 24 July, 2020
Birmingham Phoenix v Southern Brave (Edgbaston)
Saturday, 25 July, 2020
Oval Invincibles v Manchester Originals (Kia Oval), 14:00 BST
Trent Rockets v Welsh Fire (Trent Bridge), 17:00 BST
Sunday, 26 July, 2020
Southern Brave v Oval Invincibles (Ageas Bowl), 14:00 BST
Northern Superchargers v Birmingham Phoenix (Emerald Headingley), 17:00 BST
Monday, 27 July, 2020
Manchester Originals v Trent Rockets (Emirates Old Trafford)
Tuesday, 28 July, 2020
Welsh Fire v Birmingham Phoenix (Sophia Gardens)
Wednesday, 29 July, 2020
Oval Invincibles v London Spirit (Kia Oval)
Thursday, 30 July, 2020
Northern Superchargers v Southern Brave (Emerald Headingley), 19:00 BST
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Manchester Originals v London Spirit (Emirates Old Trafford), 19:00 BST
Saturday, 1 August, 2020
Welsh Fire v Northern Superchargers (Sophia Gardens), 19:00 BST
Sunday, 2 August, 2020
Trent Rockets v Oval Invincibles (Trent Bridge), 19:00 BST
Monday, 3 August, 2020
Birmingham Phoenix v Manchester Originals (Edgbaston) 19:00 BST
Tuesday, 4 August, 2020
Southern Brave v Trent Rockets (Ageas Bowl)
Wednesday, 5 August, 2020
Northern Superchargers v Manchester Originals (Emerald Headingley)
Thursday, 6 August, 2020
London Spirit v Oval Invincibles (Lord's)
Friday, 7 August, 2020
Southern Brave v Welsh Fire (Ageas Bowl), 19:00 BST
Saturday, 8 August, 2020
Birmingham Phoenix v Trent Rockets (Edgbaston), 19:00 BST
Sunday, 9 August, 2020
Welsh Fire v London Spirit (Sophia Gardens), 19:00 BST
Monday, 10 August, 2020
Trent Rockets v Northern Superchargers (Trent Bridge), 19:00 BST
Tuesday, 11 August, 2020
Oval Invincibles v Birmingham Phoenix (Kia Oval), 19:00 BST
Wednesday, 12 August, 2020
London Spirit v Southern Brave (Lord's)
Thursday, 13 August, 2020
Manchester Originals v Welsh Fire (Emirates Old Trafford)
Saturday, 15 August
Finals day, venue tbc
 

lbaspotter

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Will be interesting to see which 8+ games BBC choose to televise Live on free to air TV next summer. Obviously its deal covers 10+ games but that will have to include at least 1+ semi final and the final.
Meanwhile Sky Sports Cricket gets to show every game live.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Although I've been a cricket fan for most of my life the shorter the version of the game, the less interest I have. I will still watch 20:20 if it's on the tv - which it isn't so far as terrestrial in the UK is concerned so I can't watch as I don't have Sky - and I went to a match a couple of seasons ago with a pal who had tickets.

At least with The Hundred I can watch as a neutral observer given the ECB's decision to snub the hot bed of cricket that is the South West and leave us without a team in that competition. The ECB says we in the South West should all be supporting Welsh Fire. Just shows the sort of fantasy world the cricket bureaucrats inhabit. It's like asking Bristol City supporters to get behind Cardiff City.
 
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