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Inter-county cricket matches are known to have been played since the early 18th century, involving teams that are representative of the historic counties of England and Wales. Since the late 19th century, there have been two county championship competitions played at different levels: the County Championship, a first-class competition which involves eighteen first-class county clubs among which seventeen are English and one is from Wales; and the National Counties Championship, which involves nineteen English county clubs and one club that represents several Welsh counties.
County cricket started in the eighteenth century, the earliest known inter-county match being played in 1709, though an official County Championship was not instituted until 1890.
Inter-county cricket was popular throughout the 18th century, although the best teams, such as Kent in the 1740s or Hampshire in the days of the famous Hambledon Club, were usually acknowledged as such by being matched against All-England. The most successful county teams were Hampshire, Kent, Middlesex, Surrey and Sussex. There was, however, often a crossover between town and county with some strong local clubs tending at times to represent a whole county. Examples are London, which often played against county teams and was in some respects almost a county club in itself; Slindon, which was for a few years in the 1740s effectively representative of Sussex as a county; Dartford, sometimes representative of Kent; and the Hambledon Club, certainly representative of Hampshire and also perhaps of Sussex. One of the best county teams in the late 18th century was Berkshire, which no longer has first-class status.
All matches prior to 1988 were scheduled for three days, normally of a nominal six hours each plus intervals, but often with the first two days lengthened by up to an hour and the final day shortened, so that teams with fixtures elsewhere on the following day could travel at sensible hours. The exception to this was the 1919 season, when there was an experiment with two-day matches played over longer hours, up to nine o'clock in the evening in mid-summer. This experiment was not repeated. From 1988 to 1992 some matches were played over four days. From 1993 onward, all matches have been scheduled for four days.
The eighteen first-class counties are the top league cricket teams. They are named after historic English counties and include one Welsh county.
The first-class counties are:
The full name of each club is the name of the county followed by the words County Cricket Club, often abbreviated as CCC.
The opening first-class game of an English county cricket season has traditionally been played at Lord's between the MCC and the Champion County (the club that won the County Championship the previous year). When the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plays against one of the first-class counties, the game is granted first-class status.
The six MCC-sponsored University (MCCU) teams, were until 2020 also afforded first-class status for some of their matches against a first-class county. They were:
Most of the first-class counties play three-day games against university cricket teams in the early part of the English cricket season. This is partly because the start of the cricket season coincides with the end of the university academic year, and partly because the games act as pre-season warm-ups for the county clubs.
The National Counties, known prior to 2020 as the Minor Counties, are the cricketing counties of England that are not afforded first-class status. A further team represents the counties of Wales other than Glamorgan. Present members are:
Some teams outside of the English counties have been allowed to take part in some English county cricket one-day competitions. They include:
There are no representative teams carrying the names of the historic counties of Westmorland, Rutland, and Huntingdonshire.
An important year was 1873, when player qualification rules came into force, requiring players to choose at the start of each season whether they would play for the county of their birth or their county of residence. Before this, it was quite common for a player to play for both counties during the course of a single season. Three meetings were held, and at the last of these, held at The Oval on 9 June 1873, the following rules were decided on:
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales. The tournament currently has a two-division format with ten counties in Division One and eight in Division Two.
The Royal London One-Day Cup is a 50 over one-day cricket competition in county cricket. The 18 English county sides are divided randomly into two groups of nine with each team playing each other once. The top four in each group reach the quarter-finals. The competition culminates at Lord's for the final. The Royal London One Day Cup replaced the Yorkshire Bank 40 over League. The first winners of the competition were Durham in 2014.
The Twenty20 Cup is the top Twenty20 cricket competition contested by the eighteen first-class counties. The games are limited to 20 overs per side, and the emphasis is on fast action. From 2018, the competition is called Vitality Blast for sponsorship reasons.
The competitions of national counties cricket are the National Counties Cricket Championship and the NCCA Knockout Trophy.
The Women's County Championship is played each year, in a similar manner to the men's, but the Women's county game focuses upon 50 over cricket. There is also the Women's Cricket Super League, a T20 competition. Some counties are involved, and feature in a divisional structure. Promotion and relegation is a feature throughout.
Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is a cricket club founded in 1787 and based since 1814 at Lord's Cricket Ground, which it owns, in St John's Wood, London. The club was formerly the governing body of cricket and still holds considerable global influence.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is the national governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was formed on 1 January 1997 as a single governing body to combine the roles formerly fulfilled by the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council. In April 1998 the Women's Cricket Association was integrated into the organisation. The ECB's head offices are at Lord's Cricket Ground in north-west London.
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales and is organised by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). It became an official title in 1890. The competition consists of eighteen clubs named after, and representing historic counties, seventeen from England and one from Wales.
The National Counties, known as the Minor Counties before 2020, are the cricketing counties of England and Wales that do not have first-class status. The game is administered by the National Counties Cricket Association (NCCA), which comes under the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). There are currently twenty teams in National Counties cricket: nineteen representing historic counties of England, plus the Wales National County Cricket Club.
Durham County Cricket Club is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Durham. Founded in 1882, Durham held minor status for over a century and was a prominent member of the Minor Counties Championship, winning the competition seven times. In 1992, the club joined the County Championship and the team was elevated to senior status as an official first-class team. Durham has been classified as an occasional List A team from 1964, then as a full List A team from 1992; and as a senior Twenty20 team since the format's introduction in 2003.
Cambridge University Cricket Club, first recorded in 1817, is the representative cricket club for students of the University of Cambridge. Depending on the circumstances of each individual match, the club has always been recognised as holding first-class status. The university played List A cricket in 1972 and 1974 only. It has not played top-level Twenty20 cricket.
Devon County Cricket Club is one of 20 minor county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Devon.
Wales National County Cricket Club is one of twenty National county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents all of the historic counties of Wales except Glamorgan and is currently the only non-English member of the National Counties Cricket Championship.
Durham MCC University is a cricket coaching centre based at Durham University in Durham, County Durham, England, and the name under which the university's cricket team plays.
Joshua Philip Thomas "Josh" Knappett is an English cricket coach and former English first-class cricketer.
The NCCA 3 Day Championship is a season-long competition in England and Wales that is contested by the members of the National Counties Cricket Association (NCCA), the so-called national counties that do not have first-class status.
Cricket is one of the most popular sports in England, and has been played since the 16th century. Marylebone Cricket Club, based at Lord's, developed the modern rules of play and conduct. The sport is administered by the England and Wales Cricket Board and represented at an international level by the England men's team and England women's team. At a domestic level, teams are organised by county, competing in tournaments such as the County Championship, Royal London One-Day Cup, T20 Blast and the Women's Twenty20 Cup. Recent developments include the introduction of a regional structure for women's cricket and the establishment of The Hundred for both men's and women's cricket. Recreational matches are organised on a regional basis, with the top level being the ECB Premier Leagues.
Cardiff South Wales MCC University, formerly Cardiff University Centre of Cricketing Excellence, commonly abbreviated to Cardiff MCCU, is one of six University Centres of Cricketing Excellence supported by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). It comprises Cardiff University, the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University.
Andrew Graham Salter is a Welsh cricketer. Salter is a right-handed batsman who bowls right-arm off break. He was born at Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and was educated at Milford Haven School.
The 2017 English cricket season was the 118th in which the County Championship had been an official competition. The season, which began on 28 March and ended on 29 September, featured two global one-day competitions played in England and Wales, the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy and the 2017 Women's Cricket World Cup. England Women's team won the World Cup, defeating India in the final at Lord's. Pakistan beat India in the Champions Trophy final.
The 2019 Marylebone Cricket Club University Matches were a series of cricket matches that were played between the eighteen County Championship teams and the six Marylebone Cricket Club University teams (MCCU) of England and Wales. The first two rounds of fixtures were classed as first-class matches. Each county side played one fixture against an MCCU side ahead of the start of the 2019 County Championship.
The 2019 English cricket season ran between 26 March and 26 September. It was the 120th in which the County Championship has been an official competition and featured first-class, one-day and Twenty20 cricket competitions throughout England and Wales.
The 2020 English cricket season was originally scheduled to run between 2 April and 25 September. It was planned to have first-class, one-day and Twenty20 cricket competitions throughout England and Wales and as well as the launch of a new franchised 100 ball competition, The Hundred; it would have been the 131st year in which the County Championship has been an official competition.
The 2022 English cricket season began on 7 April 2022 and will finish on 29 September 2022. It is the 122nd season in which the County Championship has been an official competition and features First-Class, List-A and Twenty20 cricket competitions throughout England and Wales.