Friday, 19 August 2011
Thursday 18th August 2011, Essex v Gloucestershire, Day 2 of 4 County Championship Division Two, Castle Park - Colchester
Summer sport? Bloody cold, dark, and in the end we got the predicted rain! But at least we got over 4 hours of play so the short trip to Colchester was worth it.
Festival cricket is a fantastic event, and one I hope and expect County cricket to continue with. It has been reduced, Essex used to play at a number of grounds away from their main home at Chelmsford. Festivals were held at Southend, Colchester, Ilford and other grounds like Harlow also witnessed Essex matches but now it is just Colchester and Southend that see the Essex team on the road.
The festival games often see bigger crowds than you will find at the normal county homes, and a great opportunity for sponsorship and corporate hospitality. But with Chelmsford witnessing very few County games and in 2012 there will be a reduction in T20 games held. T20 crowds have been high at Chelmsford and you would expect a call by some committee members at Chelmsford to see one of the festival games scrapped so more cricket is played at the County home.
It is not just Essex who play at a 'home away from home' this week we see Lancashire at Blackpool and Yorkshire at Scarborough. Of course ground which host test cricket do not need so much County cricket at home and the other problem at Festival games can be the quality of the pitch, covers and spectator facilities. the record one day score at Horsham by Sussex last week would not make that a ground that many bowlers would want to play at.
But saying all that, festival cricket will continue, just need summer weather to go with it!