Friday, 18 July 2014

New T20 Comp gets underway

The new-style Divisional T20 competition starts with the qualifying rounds next Tuesday and Wednesday (22nd and 23rd July) at various venues around the country. All the Div 1, 2 and 3 qualifying round fixtures are below, but first how is it going to work?

The nine teams in each of Divisions 1, 2 and 3 of the County Championship will fight it out amongst themselves in three groups of three (A, B and C), each playing each other twice over two days (three games will be played one after the other each day).

The winners of the three groups will then play-off against each other in a separate one-day competition (3rd August) where they each play each other just once to see who finishes 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The teams finishing second in their groups in the qualifying rounds will play-off for 4th, 5th and 6th, and the teams finishing third in their groups will play-off for 7th, 8th and 9th. Teams finishing 8th and 9th will be replaced by the teams finishing 1st and 2nd in the Division below for the 2015 competition.

The full rules are here.

Division 1
Div 1 Group A - Berkshire, Middlesex, Sussex at Wokingham CC
Last year's finalists Sussex have to be favourites, with Middlesex probably likely to pip Berkshire for second spot. Berkshire have a good recent T20 record, but have not had a great season.
Div 1 Group B - Essex, Kent, Surrey at Hayes CC
Last year's winners Kent are likely to come out on top, but Surrey may give them a run for their money. The Essex youngsters may struggle.
Div 1 Group C - Notts, Warwickshire, Yorkshire at Welbeck CC
The group of death as all will feel they should be battling it out with Kent and Sussex for the overall title. Yorkshire may have the better T20 batting and might just shave it.

Division 2
Div 2 Group A - Cheshire, Staffs, Worcestershire at Fordhouses CC
Staffs will be looking to progress to the Top Three from this group, with Cheshire and Worcestershire fighting to avoid the bottom three.
Div 2 Group B - Durham, Ireland, Lancashire at Northern CC
Tough group for Durham, who will struggle and Lancs may prove too good for Ireland, but one good game from Ireland could make it tighter than Lancs would like.
Div 2 Group C - Devon, Somerset, Wales at Bath CC
Another tough group from which you would expect Devon or Somerset to progress to the Top Three. It could be a long couple of days for Wales.

Division 3
Div 3 Group A - Gloucs, Hants, Oxfordshire at Frocester CC
These three lie 7th, 8th and 9th in the County Championship with only one win each. T20 is a different game but it could be a dog-eat-dog couple of days. Oxfordshire's bowling might just be the best of the three and pull them through.
Div 3 Group B - Herts, Netherlands, Northants at Tring Park CC
Netherlands should win this group, but they have a tiring few days with three County Champ games in the three days leading up to this competition. Hope they are fit.
Div 3 Group C - Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Scotland at Denby CC
Scotland should progress to the Top Three play-off, but Leicestershire and Derbyshire will be awkward opponents


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