Monday, October 03, 2016


The 2016 cricket season went out with its usual whimper a week or so ago and, as an aficionado of Hampshire I was naturally disappointed that they were relegated from Division One of the County Championship.  Not altogether unexpected, especially as at the end of the 2015 season they escaped relegation by a whisker on the last day of the season.

In this year`s final table, Durham finished a very creditable fourth and over the years since their entry into the County Championship in 1992, they have consistently produced test players and won the championship title on three occasions, as well as success in the one day competitions.   So it is regrettable that, today, Durham have been subjected to a series of sanctions as a result of spiralling debts and accepting a £3.8 million loan from the ECB to ensure their survival.

The swingeing sanctions include being relegated to Division Two, being deducted 48 points before the 2017 season even begins,  points deductions in the two one-day cup competitions, the withdrawal of Test status for their county ground at Chester-le-Street and a salary cap on terms to be settled by the ECB.   In anyone`s language, those penalties are none other than severe.

The powers that be have also decided that since Durham are being relegated, then Hampshire will retain their place in Division One, rather than Kent, who finished in second place in Division Two, being promoted.   

Now, as a Hampshire fan ever since my parents first took me to the old County Ground at Northlands Road, Southampton, in 1949 when I saw the county take on the New Zealanders, I should be happy that my county`s cricket team will still be playing in the top echelon.   And I suppose I am happy, although it is tinged with genuine sorrow at the plight Durham find themselves in and also a little embarrassment that Kent have not been granted the promotion they arguably deserve.   Good news and bad news indeed but it might call for a redefinition of the phrase `it`s not cricket?`

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