With the cricket season on the horizon, Sports Shots has sat down and spoken with the Bucks County Cricket Club skipper Tom Hampton.
In this, the first of a two-part interview, the former Middlesex and Gloucestershire seamer discusses the new format for the 2020 season.
The Minor Counties will change their name after 124 years of competitive cricket spanning three centuries. From 2020, the rejigged competition’s many changes will include becoming the National Counties Cricket Association.
With all-to-play-for in 2019, Hampton will be looking for Bucks to finish in the top five so that they can perform in Division 1 for the new-look format next year.
I think the changes for 2020 are exciting.
The T20 competition and the introduction of coloured kit in the one-day competitions last year seemed to work well and definitely brought a buzz with it.
The slight negative was that the one-day competition became a knock out straight from the start, which is exciting, but does mean that one poor day or even period of a game and that can be the end of the competition. So I think the change to a guaranteed four matches in each format, with the opportunities at finals, is a great option.
Hampton enthused at the competitive element, that the addition of promotion and relegation will bring.
It is a shame that we lose two 3-day matches, but the summer is only so long. The balance of four games with finals, etc, seems the best way to solve the problem.
I think that adding promotion and relegation to the Championship brings in a good edge to the competition, and means there is a huge importance on finishing in the top five this season to ensure you start in the top division.
The ten counties that will split into two divisions will be Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumberland, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Staffordshire, Suffolk.
Tomorrow, Hampton talks about Bucks as 2019 becomes his second campaign at the helm.