Stay Calm. Bat On. And Rain.

Northamptonshire vs Susssex at County Ground, Yorkshire Bank 40
Sussex 215-7; Northamptonshire 122-9
Sussex won by 61 runs (D/L method)

I love baseball. Always have; probably always will. But one of the things I love about cricket is that it is the opposite of baseball. In cricket, a bowler can turn a match on its head with one delivery; that is impossible in baseball. However, in baseball, a batter can turn a game around with one swing, something that cricket batsmen simply are not capable of doing.

In order to truly affect a match, positively, a batsman must take his time, guard his wicket, remain patient, take his shots when they come, and build slowly toward a decent total.

And that’s just what Sussex got from Ed Joyce and Chris Nash at the County Ground on Friday afternoon. Joyce joined opener Nash when Sussex were 12-3 and collapsing their way toward another poor YB40 showing. But the two experienced batsmen settled in and built a 30 over, 173 run partnership; which, along with some rain and some sloppy batting from Northamptonshire, saved the game for their club.

And in a lot of ways, saved their team’s YB40 campaign, too. Collapsing to naught-for-two this early in this season might have been the proverbial bullet in their season.

Warwickshire vs Sussex at Edgbaston, Yorkshire Bank 40
Match abandoned w/o a ball bowled

There are 12 regular season matches in the YB40 season. Losing just one match to rain means Sussex has lost fully 8% of their season. If they lose four matches to the elements (like they did last year), that’s 34% of their season wiped out.

That sort of schedule decimation simply does not exist in other sports. Most play through the elements or have the game rescheduled. But county cricket already has such a jam packed season, what with four day Championship matches, and the FLt20, and exhibition matches, that there simply is not room.

Furthermore, in the only other sport where play is simply impossible in the rain, baseball, the season is 162 games long, and so losing one or two along the way is not going to matter all that much in the end.

It’s a shame, really, because County Cricket’s one day tournaments have enjoyed and long and entertaining history, but the format is really taking a back seat these days, similar to what is happening on the international level, and the tournament has simultaneously become a bit of a farce thanks in large part to all of the no-results. Northamptonshire lost five matches to rain last year, for instance. FIVE. How can a tournament maintain any sort of respectability when teams are unable to play almost half of their matches?

I am not the first person to suggest that changes need to happen at the domestic level in England, and I know the fixture list is already packed to the gunwales, but I really do hope that next year when the new 50 over format starts that the ECB will find a way to finish the matches postponed due to rain. I think it is obviously important to the format overall, but also to England’s success in 50 over World Cups, and to the future of County Cricket.

Also, again: bloody rain. The ultimate cricket killer.

*

Next up for Sussex: At Derbyshire for a County Championship match starting 15 May.

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