The county championship is the domestic first-class competition in England and Wales that is played in the form of two divisions. The division one consists of eight teams and Yorkshire are the most successful County Championship side. With County Championship 2018 underway, here is all you need to know about the latest season.
The earliest record of a county match played was in 1709 between Kent and Surrey. However, the county championship wasn't made official until 1890 and the first official match was played between Yorkshire and Gloucestershire, with the former emerging as the winner. Since then, Yorkshire have dominated county cricket and have the most titles in the tournament's history. The two divisional format of the championship was introduced in the year 2000 with eight teams in the first division one and 10 in the second.
English county cricket comprises of all three formats whereas the County Championship is just the first-class part of the season. While the number of matches played per season by a team has varied over the years, so has the points each team claims from the match. One thing that has remained constant since the introduction of the Division two is the fact that the top two teams from Division Two are promoted to Division One whereas the bottom two teams from Division Two are relegated.
The County Championship table not only takes in account wins and losses but also bonus points accrued. Each team gets 16 points for a win, eight for a tie and five points for a draw. Aside from that each team also accrues bonus points in the first innings with both bat and ball. The bonus points are calculated as per the runs and wickets they claim in the first 110 overs.
If the score is 200-249, the batting team gets 1 bonus point. 250-299 gives the batting side two points, while 300-349 is three points. 350-399 gives the batting side four points while a total in excess of 400 gives them five points. As far as bowling bonus points is concerned, 3-5 wickets taken gives the bowling side 1 point, 6-8 wickets is two point while 9-10 wickets taken gives them three bowling points.
So a county championship side can claim a maximum of 24 points from a game and even if a side loses, they can claim eight points.
The teams playing in the County Championship 2018 division one include defending champions Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Surrey, Worcestershire, and Yorkshire. Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire were promoted to division one for this season.
Yorkshire remains the most celebrated team in the county with 32 championship titles. The title for most runs in county cricket is held by Phil Mead, who scored 46,268 runs. The record for highest number of wickets in county cricket is held by Tich Freeman with 3,151 wickets. Brian Lara’s 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham remains the highest individual score till date.