Counties Column

A new column from Mark Church

September 2021

I am sat writing this on a stage, under a tent at Beckenham. The sun has just come out and there is a good crowd in for the Royal London Cup match between Kent and Lancashire. The ground looks a picture and Josh Bohannon and Keaton Jennings have given the Red Rose a solid start. The domestic one-day competition is alive and well and there is some great cricket being played.

Elsewhere The Hundred is underway and this article is not going to be a missive on the newest of new formats. The only thing I would say if I was ever asked by the powers that be what I think, I would tell them that I have seen it all before. The Royal London Cup for various reasons is giving younger players an opportunity to put their names into the spotlight and if this is now a “development tournament” as it has been described, it is a very good one.

Fifty over cricket works. We all know that. England know that. They are the World Champions. People enjoy watching the one-day stuff because it is a good day out and you get a chance to invest in the narrative of the game. I’m all for change but don’t try and reinvent the wheel. It has always been round and gets you from A to B, so it would be strange to turn it into a square. You would find that you wouldn’t get that far on your journey.

Cricket is cricket. I would quite happily watch Ben Stokes face Jaspreet Bumrah in my local car park because they are quality, and it is the same with the Royal London One Day Cup. Every player is talented and every game in the competition will create a story. I may be an old romantic, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. The fifty over competition is one to be cherished and long may that continue. I fear this old romantic may be left disappointed.

Mark Church