HOPE YOU all enjoyed the County Championship match at Emerald Headingley last week.
Not just because Yorkshire beat Notts by 164 runs, thereby achieving their first victory of the season in convincing style.
But also because it was the last Championship game to be played there for 128 days – until August 29, to be precise.
Just ponder that for a minute –the last Championship match to be played at Headingley for 128 days.
That is over four months without a Championship game in a six-month season at a county headquarters. To call that unacceptable is an understatement.
Come August 29, when Yorkshire entertain Somerset, Headingley will have staged only four days of Championship cricket in a little over 11 months.
Granted, that would have been eight days had not the entirety of the opening fixture of this season against Essex fallen foul of the weather, but even eight days in more than 11 months is a laughable amount of Championship action.
Sadly, it is a reflection of how the competition has become increasingly marginalised, with more and more games shoved into the start and end of the season.
Three of Yorkshire’s 14 Championship matches this year are in April and two in May, with six coming in the opposite extreme of August/September.
Otherwise, in what might be termed the peak months of June and July, there are just three fixtures combined, with white-ball cricket ruling the roost.
That is over four months without a Championship game in a six-month season at a county headquarters. To call that unacceptable is an understatement.Chris Waters
Put simply, the Championship has become an afterthought, the definition of a secondary consideration.
So much so, you suspect that some people running the game secretly wish that they did not have to think about it at all and that the sport could be white-ball only – a prospect that seems to be coming ever closer.
Of course, it should be pointed out that Yorkshire play two further Championship home matches before August 29 at their Scarborough outground.
The county host Surrey at North Marine Road from June 25-28 and Worcestershire from August 19-22.
But if the Championship had not been systematically shredded over the years, with the latest cull seeing it chopped from 16 matches per county to 14 games from last season, then there would be much more four-day cricket to go around.
Instead, if you are a Yorkshire member living in the Leeds area and primarily a fan of traditional cricket, which is hardly to highlight a minority group among members, then you might as well go into hibernation for the next four months.
Alas, the poor old Championship is like a doormat, trampled on by the game’s administrators. And while some of them salivate over the prospect of 100-ball cricket (or, more specifically, the money that it will hopefully generate from people who probably think that “cricket” is a chirping insect), the best entertainment, for many people, continues to be the one form of the game that is neither sexy nor attractive to television.
What the future holds for the Championship is anyone’s guess.
But if the powers-that-be really cared about it, they would never countenance a state of affairs in which a ground like Headingley (and the Yorkshire members who flock there) could go 128 days without a Championship match.