5 April 2019

Dear [subscriber:firstname | default:Subscriber],

5 April 2019.

It’s a very important date in the cricket calendar; the start of the county championship season in England. We know this because the weather, which in the last few days has been glorious, has suddenly become dreadful, matching the country’s apocalyptic political mood. The chance of any play on Friday seems fairly remote.

But that is neither here nor there. The start of the championship campaign is still an important thing. It may not have the glitz and razzmatazz of the IPL or the Big Bash League, but the County Championship matters – and Pavilion End intends to focus more on the championship this year.

This is, of course, a huge season in England. The World Cup kicks off at the end of May, with the final in mid-July. Then we have a Test match against Ireland at Lord’s. And finally, it’s The Ashes, with, one assumes, the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, and, perhaps a last hurrah for James Anderson.

A huge season. And perhaps the last of its type. Cricket evolves, like everything else. But the money-obsessed administrators who have introduced the absurd new Hundred competition into the domestic mix from 2020 may well be signing county cricket’s death warrant. City cricket looks like the way of the future.

Pavilion End fervently hopes not. There’s an irresistible appeal about county cricket at Worcester, Hove, Tunbridge Wells, Southport. Out-grounds are making a comeback this year. Hampshire are playing on the Isle of Wight for the first time since 1962.

Will thousands of people turn up to watch? No. Does it matter? Well, it’s a shame; but no. Lots of people will follow; and will care. They are the people the ECB don’t care about.

But they are the people Pavilion End does care about. People who love traditional cricket. Not just English cricket; but it is foolish to ignore and denigrate England’s role in cricket’s development. And its soul.

Have a wonderful season!

Bill Ricquier

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My articles From The Pavilion End reflect on current cricketing events while also exploring the game's rich history. I often use current events as a peg to examine cricketers and matches of the past. Please encourage your cricket friends to visit and subscribe.


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