County Championship


When prompted to e-mail the BBC and ECB with feedback on this season’s cricket commentaries, Yates sent one response to the BBC and a fuller response to the ECB.  Yates has previously expounded his support for the County commentary teams.

Praise is given where due but so is criticism.  If you’re new to DCTWO then please take it as read that as a Surrey supporter I am a big fan of Mark Church and Johnny Barran’s commentaries.    Some people (*cough* Michael Vaughan *cough*) would do well to embrace their Twitter presences and bring them to the commentary box – his recent tweets have been much better than his TMS output.   TMS in its current state is a vastly inferior product to what it used to be – it needs overhauling.

That said, so does anything in the ECB which Giles Clarke and Paul Downton have had anything to do with.

Yates is looking forward to reading KP’s autobiography.

Thank you to all involved in the County Cricket Commentaries during 2014. May you all winter well.

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The cricketing winter has been unpleasant in a number of well reported ways, so it was with a real sense of pleasure that Yates switched on the Surrey v Glamorgan commentary this morning.

When Yates was a student, the only cricket commentary he could find on his combined television/radio gadget was BBC Radio Wales.  So much of Yates’ academic output was created, revised, sworn at, rewritten and finally submitted with the tones of Edward Bevan, Don Shepherd and Wilf Wooller in the background.  And 20+ years later Edward Bevan’s voice is still the voice of BBC Radio Wales cricket.

To hear Mark Church and Edward Bevan commentating on that first session of the season bought a sense of happiness and well-being to Yates. First class cricket is the bedrock of our game and deserves good support.  The winter’s events – what was done, what was not and what should have been done – may well have repercussions still to come.

For now we can focus on county cricket and enjoy the start of the season.  The hopes, aspirations, predictions, rekindling of friendships and comradeships, taking seats at grounds and watching the game we love, discussing it online, getting selfies with players and the other stuff we do which friends and family may not understand.

To us all – players, commentators, journalists, writers, bloggers, supporters and everyone involved in cricket – Yates raises his glass to you and wishes you a happy and successful season.

Derbyshire eventually had a great season in 2012.  It started in 2011 with a change at the top, when Chris Grant took over from Don Amott as Chairman.  Then, part way through the 2012 season John Morris was removed as 1st team coach and replaced by Karl Krikken. The rest is history, as Derbyshire went on to win Division 2 of last season’s County Championship.

Derbyshire is one of the unfashionable, smaller clubs which the likes of Mark Nicholas target when advocating the reduction of the County Championship.  However, as Chris Grant will happily remind anyone who asks, the club is not in debt to anyone.  This is quite an achievement in the current financial situation.

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And about time too!  The sight of a sun-drenched Kia Oval outfield yesterday evening was truly a pleasure to behold, lowering the blood pressure and reminding Yates that it won’t be long before the County Championship starts.  Ah, the County Championship.  Where cricketers from England and all over the world have started, continued and completed their cricketing education, many going on to perform with honours and records at the highest level.

You know, the one that’s supposedly watched by a few men and their dogs.

Woof.

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Yates is getting twitchy.  The kind of twitchy that has him testing bowling actions in the empty canteen with an orange.  The kind of twitchy that comes from seeing Surrey CCC on his bank statement, showing that the upcoming season’s membership has been paid.  The kind of twitchy that comes from seeing @surreycricket’s photos and videos of pre-season training.

It won’t be long and the first games of the new cricket season will be upon us.  Yates has still to decide whether to drop by the University game at the Kia Oval but will be going to the first day of the County Championship season, the home game against Sussex.

As the weather can be somewhat variable – from freezing one’s nether regions off in the morning then by end of play having the start of a suntan – Yates is contemplating what will go in his cricket box this season:

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Yates writes this entry with a heavy heart and a sense of dread.  When Yates says that Essex are a club which he had supported for 30 years until moving south of the River Thames you may understand why.

Yesterday’s sentencing of Mervyn Westfield will be remembered more for the explosive revelations made in the run up to lunch more than the fact that Westfield got a 4 month sentence.  Those following Richard DJ Edwards’ excellent live Tweeting of the sentencing saw bombshell after bombshell land which must surely have a devastating effect on Essex cricket in particular.

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The Morgan review generated much discussion before its eventual publication.  Now it has been published, not only are Yates’ and others criticisms shown to be valid, the report itself is one of the weakest documents Yates has ever seen.

Yates has seen plenty of poor efforts at documentation and reports in his time but this has to be one of the poorest to ever sully his monitor with its presence.  Were Yates a CEO in receipt of this document he would throw it back at David Morgan with a demand for a fuller document with detailed and substantial evidence.

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The news that David Morgan’s review into the county season is to be accepted by the ECB comes as no real surprise.  Coming on the back of England’s number 1 test side status, this effort by Morgan seems a bit odd to say the least.  Yes, we’re the best test side in the world so let’s cut the first class cricket that made us so and bend over for the Champions League.

Currently we have two Championship divisions of nine teams.  16 games is the sensible, logical and balanced approach to have – each team plays the others in its division home and away.  How is a cut to 14 games per season going to work? Which teams miss out on playing each other, why and under what process is this determined?  The idea is fundamentally flawed.

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The cuts announced by the BBC have caused a lot of concern for those employed by the nation’s public service broadcaster.  The Licence Fee is a unique way of funding, some argue it to be anachronistic and tax-like in these modern times but it supposedly serves to keep the BBC as a public service broadcaster.

The possibility that the BBC’s local radio stations are under threat from these cuts and a review exercise brings the unpleasant possibility that its excellent coverage of county cricket may fall under the axe.  If that happens then I believe that the BBC will have completely lost the right to call itself a public service broadcaster and should lose the Licence Fee completely.

The BBC does a lot wrong.  Paying Jonathan Ross obscene amounts of money to make knob gags being one.  Not bidding for the rights to show test cricket on television is another.  There are things that need to be changed at the BBC.  However, it must be said that the BBC does at least a few things right.  Its coverage of county cricket on the radio and over the internet is excellent.

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Yorkshire’s relegation from Division 1 of the County Championship has met with a stinging, scathing response from executive chairman Colin Graves.  Given that he’s underwriting the club’s £20 million debt he’s probably justified in being somewhat critical of his club’s 1st XI performances this season.

From what Yates knows of Yorkshire folk, there will be plenty of them wanting to have their say about the 1st XI’s performance too.  And you can bet that they won’t be holding back in their criticism either.

One thing that’s always irritated Yates is the saying “We don’t deserve to be in the [whatever division is lower than the one a relegation threatened team is facing] division.”

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