2024 Fixture Reaction

Baby steps back onto the blog to look at the 2024 fixtures, announced yesterday

This is a big step for me. The first blog post for a very long time. Lots of decisions made, lots of thoughts but the main one is that from now on blog posts will be just posted, when I want, own what I want. And there will be no promotion of anything. This blog is reverting to what it was intended to be, something personal. If people want to engage I am more than happy with that, most are welcome, your views valued (you know who you are). If people don’t like what I write I respect that, but please don’t waste your time or energy hammering away on social media, I won’t be reading it, my mental health doesn’t need it so I will be giving it all a wide swerve.

November is such a depressing month. Two months now since the end of the season, and a lot of long dark, cold nights until the domestic cricket season starts. 

But there are a couple of bright spots. The first was the return of the players for pre-season at the start of the week and the second is today, when the fixtures come out.

I’d love to know how different people use the information. I’m sure very few of us are the same. For my part, living in the north-west, it is a case of the Championship fixtures that are relatively close. Lancashire obviously is always a favourite (Old Trafford is the penultimate game of the season starting 17 September) but Durham in late May seems tempting as does Trent Bridge at the end of June (but I will hopefully be in the far north of Scotland then).

Other thoughts are, which 4 day game at Taunton (do’t leave it until the end of the season, AGAIN) and how can I do a floodlit T20 at Taunton? There seem to be plenty of opportunities with weekend cricket being much more prominent next year.

The first block of red ball cricket, 7 games, all start on a Friday, but then sanity, as is the way with the ECB is abandoned. The 2 games sandwiched in the middle of the Blast group stages (better than last year’s 1 I guess) both start on a Sunday and then we finish with a sequence of Thursday, Thursday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. The chances of any weekend cricket greatly reduced to a maximum of 6 days out of 20. Wonderful.

The start to the season is nowhere near as daunting as last season, Kent twice Including early April in Canterbury (UUUGH) and Worcestershire at New Road but Surrey at The Oval and Essex at home won’t be easy.

The balance of the games seems better than last year. Although the imbalance of playing some teams twice and others just once still devalues the competition Essex, Hampshire and Lancashire only once and no trips to either Southampton or Chelmsford sounds good.

And of course we have a T20 title to defend. The same format as last year, the same south group (isn’t it about time we tried Easy and West for a change?). But 6 weeks between the end of the groups and the quarter finals has no logic to it.

As for the 50 over comp, let’s see what happens. It would be nice if there were signs that the development is bearing fruit and we can be more competitive, but realistically, as long as we have so many players taken away in August that is asking a lot. A situation that is unlikely to change for the better if as seems likely the West Country gets a franchise in 2025.

So in summary;

  • The usual buggers muddle by the ECB
  • Another imbalanced Championship fixture list
  • But it could have been a lot worse
  • The Blast looks like the best chance of silverware

But I worry about our seam bowling, the equal of any on paper, but it is getting them onto grass consistently that will determine where we finish in the elite competition in 2024