County Cricket is a simple game made complicated by idiots. Durham are about to become anointed Champions for the third time in six seasons, and not undeservedly so – their game at Scarborough, as covered on these pages, was critical to that and recent games have seen them put their foot very much on the throat of their opposition – Sussex particularly drawing my ire, as so often they do.
I’m moving on, though. Yorkshire played Sussex last week in a game that ended with a rain affected draw. Chasing 300 for victory, the Tykes innings closed at 81/2 when the rains came.
Yorkshire, as so often in recent seasons, had contrived with their opposition to aim for a result, be it win or loss, in the knowledge that drawing is no good to anybody in a system that rewards a win with 16 points but a draw with only 3.
Given the frequency that matches go uncompleted because of the weather, that doesn’t seem fair to me. As such, I’d like to cycle through some other ideas as to how the County Championship could allocate its points.
I’m going to use last season’s final Division 1 table as my basis, which looks like this.
That way Yorkshire aren’t in it, so I’m not just doing it on which table favours the Tykes. Even my second county of Kent don’t feature, as so often they fail to in Division 1 (and won’t next year, either).
The first thing that springs to mind, as a football fan, is to work with three points for a win, and one for a draw. A table representing that is far easier to read, and doesn’t change the order of the teams much (I would separate level teams on run/wicket average in
head-to-head contests, I think).
The same thing happens (good news for Nottinghamshire, who lost ten games to draws) when that is taken down to two points for a win and one for a draw, though I think three is probably more fair in terms of rewarding results. Again, to reward drawing won’t have the same effect of teams trying to force results, which is something I think should be encouraged – a draw, in cricket, at least should be a last resort.
A little later on, I was confronted by the County Championship table from 1903, a year after Yorkshire had won it, and topped by Middlesex. Endearingly, the teams from this time period played completely different amounts of games and the table had to reflect it. Instead of points, they used a system of ‘completed match win percentage’ – basically the percentage of games that weren’t drawn that the team won.
I like it. It makes sense. Doesn’t punish those who lost time to rain, but doesn’t reward those who stagnated a game, either. If you’re good enough to win, you get the lift, and if you’re bad enough to lose, you drop. Simple policy. Here’s last year’s table using it.
The important thing is what this season’s table would look like using the same system (before the current round of games)
And that’s the problem I’ve got. Yorkshire aren’t a lot worse than Durham. I don’t dispute Durham’s position at the top, but Yorkshire have been curtailed by weather rather than opposition; indeed, the Tykes’ victory at Chester-le-Street was every bit as dominant as Durham’s at Scarborough.
Durham will be County Champions, but it remains arguable if they’re the best team in the land. They probably are, but they way we’ve discovered that they are seems a little flawed to me.
Get me, a Yorkshireman saying things used to be better back in the past. I’ll get me whippet.