With a County Championship impossible in 2020 due to the pandemic (the first Bob Willis Trophy was held instead), it was decided that with Covid-19 still affecting the game, a conferencing system should be used in 2021.
The teams were placed in three conferences of six for the first part of the season (10 games), which ranked them for the last four games of the season in division one, two or three.
While today’s ECB press release said this had been “successfully achieved” in 2021, most players in the game were unimpressed.
The presidents of the 18 first-class counties voted on the issue – which is dividing the game – this week. They decided to go back to two divisions, with a 10-8 distribution based on the standings at the end of the 2019 season.
“Although countries supported the use of the 2022 season as a means of reverting to a two-division structure, there was not the two-thirds majority required by the ECB articles,” one reads in one ECB press release.
This creates the somewhat odd situation in which Nottinghamshire – who have performed well this year (finishing fourth) but were relegated in 2019 – find themselves in Division Two, while Kent (promoted in 2019 but struggling this year) are in division one.
Each team will again play 14 league games.
2022 LV = Insurance County Championship – Division 1
Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire, Yorkshire.
2022 LV = Insurance County Championship – Division Two
Durham, Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Worcestershire.