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Cricket is one of the most popular sports in England, and has been played since the 16th century. Marylebone Cricket Club, based at Lord's, developed the modern rules of play and conduct. The sport is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board and represented at an international level by the England men's team and England women's team. At a domestic level, teams are organised by county, competing in tournaments such as the County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup, T20 Blast and the Women's Twenty20 Cup. Recent developments include the introduction of a regional structure for women's cricket and the establishment of The Hundred for both men's and women's cricket. Recreational matches are organised on a regional basis, with the top level being the ECB Premier Leagues.
|Cricket in England|
|Governing body||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|National team(s)||England (men's) |
In men's cricket, there are eighteen professional county clubs, seventeen of them in England and one in Wales. All eighteen counties are named after, and were originally representative of, historic counties. These clubs are heavily dependent on subsidies from the England and Wales Cricket Board, which makes its money from television and endorsement contracts and attendances at international matches. The English cricket season traditionally starts at the beginning of April and runs through to the second half of September although in recent years counties have played pre season friendly matches at the very end of March.
Each summer the county clubs compete in the first class County Championship, which consists of two divisions and in which matches are played over four days. The same teams also play one day cricket in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and Twenty20 cricket in the Vitality T20 Blast.
The National Counties Cricket Championship is a season-long competition in England for county clubs that do not have first-class status. There are nineteen teams representing historic English counties along with a Welsh minor counties team.
Below the county game, there are a raft of club competitions organised on a regional basis. ECB Premier Leagues being the highest level. There are also non-ECB-affiliated leagues such as the Bradford Cricket League, the Lancashire League and the Central Lancashire League.
In women's cricket, 36 teams, mainly representing counties, currently compete in the Women's Twenty20 Cup. The Women's County Championship, a one-day competition, was also competed for by counties until it ended in 2019. In 2016 the Women's Cricket Super League was established, a Twenty20 competition with six franchise teams. The Women's Cricket Super League was replaced in 2020 with a new regional domestic structure for women's cricket. This included eight teams each representing a region of England and Wales, and competing in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy from 2020 and the Twenty20 Charlotte Edwards Cup from 2021.
The English first-class counties are:
The full name of the cricket team is usually formed from the name of the county followed by the words County Cricket Club, which are often abbreviated as CCC.
The following games are considered derbies:-
- Roses Match – Yorkshire v Lancashire
- Battle of London (Cross-Thames Derby) – Middlesex v Surrey
- South Coast Special – Hampshire v Sussex
- West Midlands Derby – Warwickshire v Worcestershire
- West Country Derby – Somerset v Gloucestershire
- East Midlands Derby – Notts v Derbyshire
- North Derby – Yorkshire v Durham
The opening first-class game of an English county cricket season has traditionally been played at Lord's between the MCC and the Champion County (the club that won the County Championship the previous year). When the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plays against one of the first-class counties, the game is granted first-class status.
The six MCC-sponsored University (MCCU) teams, are also afforded first-class status for some of their matches against a first-class county. They are:
- Cambridge MCCU (from 1827)
- Oxford MCCU (from 1827)
- Durham MCCU (from 2001)
- Loughborough MCCU (from 2003)
- Cardiff MCCU (from 2012)
- Leeds/Bradford MCCU (from 2012)
Most of the first-class counties play three-day games against university cricket teams in the early part of the English cricket season. This is partly because the start of the cricket season coincides with the end of the university academic year, and partly because the games act as pre-season warm-ups for the county clubs.
Women's Domestic Regional HubsEdit
- Central Sparks – Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Worcestershire
- Lightning – Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire & Loughborough University
- Northern Diamonds – Durham, Northumberland & Yorkshire
- North West Thunder – Cheshire, Cumbria & Lancashire
- South East Stars – Kent & Surrey
- Southern Vipers – Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Oxfordshire, Sussex & Isle of Wight Cricket Board
- Sunrisers – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Middlesex, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Suffolk & Marylebone Cricket Club
- Western Storm – Cornwall, Devon, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire & Cricket Wales
Originally scheduled to start in the 2020 season but postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hundred is a 100 ball cricket competition which consists of eight city-based franchise teams, each of which field both a men's and women's team, in a league format.
Recreational club competitionsEdit
The ECB runs a national club knock-out competition, the ECB National Club Cricket Championship, and has in place a regional Premier League pyramid system for recreational club cricket in England and Wales.
The cricket grounds of England and Wales are smaller than the largest in some other countries, especially India and Australia, but the best of them have been modernised to a high standard, and two new international grounds have been built in recent years. The largest English cricket ground, Lord's in London, is internationally regarded as the "home of cricket".
Test matches have been played at 24 grounds across the country. Five of these grounds have hosted both men's and women's Tests in their history: The Oval (South London), Old Trafford (Manchester), Trent Bridge (Nottingham), Headingley (Leeds) and Edgbaston (Birmingham).
The other grounds to have hosted a Test match since 2010 are Sir Paul Getty's Ground (Wormsley Park), St Lawrence Ground (Canterbury), County Ground, Taunton, Bristol County Ground, Sophia Gardens (Cardiff), the Rose Bowl (Southampton) and Riverside Ground (Chester-le-Street).
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board (TCCB), the National Cricket Association (NCA) and the Cricket Council.
In men's cricket, England is a founding Test cricket, One Day International and Twenty20 nation. England played in the first ever Test match in 1877 (against Australia in Melbourne) and the first ever One Day International in 1971 (also against Australia in Melbourne).
Each summer foreign national teams visit England to play Tests, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. In the British winter the England team tours abroad. The highest profile rival of the England cricket team is the Australian team, with which it competes for The Ashes, one of the most famous trophies in British sport.
In women's cricket, England played in the first Women's Test series against Australia in 1934–35. They won the first Women's Cricket World Cup in 1973, and again in 1993, 2009 and 2017. They played in the first ever Twenty20 International for either gender, against New Zealand at Hove, and they won the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2009.
In 2005 the ECB concluded a commercial arrangement with BSkyB which gave Sky the exclusive television rights for live Test cricket in England for four years (the 2006 to 2009 seasons). This deal, which took live Test cricket for home England matches away from terrestrial television for the first time generated substantial future revenues for English cricket, but was criticised by many England cricket supporters and others.
The Cricket Writers' Club Young Cricketer of the Year is an annual award voted by the Cricket Writers' Club for the best young cricket player in England and Wales, and has been awarded since 1950.
Cricket is also one of the most popular participation sports in England after Football, Rugby and Tennis with most villages running a side every Sunday through the season, and towns putting out 2, 3, 4 and occasionally 5 sides for Saturday league matches, and 1 or 2 sides on a Sunday. According to the mid year 2020-21 Active Sport England survey an estimated 181,500 people play cricket at least twice a month, a 0.4% fall compared to the previous year. Around 65% population of England follow Cricket. The game is also popular in cities.
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