Warwickshire Sunday Smash: Midlands to launch new 100-ball club competition

Kenilworth Wardens have hosted an annual floodlit tournament for Midlands clubs for several years
Kenilworth Wardens have hosted an annual floodlit tournament for Midlands clubs for several years

Warwickshire are behind a new England and Wales Cricket Board-approved competition to introduce 100-ball cricket at club level.

The Warwickshire Sunday Smash is scheduled for June-July 2019.

A new 100-ball competition for the professional game is to begin in 2020, but the rules have yet to be revealed.

"It's all about getting cricketers back playing cricket on Sunday afternoons," said Warwickshire Cricket Board growth & participation manager Andy Wyles.

The competition will use the 100-ball rather than T20 format in the hope that it can tap into any increased interest in the game generated among players of the future when the new professional game is shown, as planned, on terrestrial television.

"We'll line up with the ECB version of what it should look like," Wyles told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire.

"We focused initially on why grounds lie fallow on a Sunday afternoon and to tackle why there are so many 32-year-old cricketers with two kids who can't find the time to play a fuller version of the game.

"If 100-ball cricket gets the game back onto terrestrial TV again and gets those 30-somethings playing again, and brings their families along to cricket matches too, then that's fantastic.

"It's about giving players more of a window to play the game they love. We hope it can reinvigorate Sunday cricket in the Midlands and provide an opportunity for clubs to bring in much-needed revenue."

How will the Sunday Smash work?

  • The Warwickshire Sunday Smash will use a white ball. Teams will play in coloured clothing.
  • There are no league fees for any club that enters. The only cost is for team strips. But many clubs already have coloured clothing. A few Midlands clubs already run T20 competitions, often under floodlights, while one club, Birmingham-based Attock, hosted a T10 tournament last year.
  • The league hopes to attract 32 teams, to play in four eight-team groups, all looking to qualify for a Finals Day.
  • The exact model of how they will play is set to be decided, but Andy Wyles says that it will "probably be 20 five-ball overs".

Getting back into cricket

A consultation meeting with the clubs already registered will take place early in the New Year, and Wyles said there has already been a lot of interest.

"I'm very confident that this is going to work," he added. "We had six more entries in the first three hours after announcing this.

"We've noticed in recent years that clubs have experienced a large drop in player availability for the all-day league format.

"The primary aim is to encourage cricketers back into the game through a shorter format.

"A game played in two hours and 15 minutes, with reduced travel time, and then the chance to go back and enjoy the rest of the day with the family."

Andy Wyles was talking to BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Mikey Burrows.