Ladies and gentlemen, the county cricket

The English county cricket season is upon us, and it kicks off with the sport's purest format

Patrick Hollis
3 min readApr 4, 2024
Trent Bridge is one of the 18 grounds that will host County Championship cricket this year (Photo: Nottinghamshire CCC)

April is the start of spring in England, with longer days and nature coming back to thrive after the long winter months. Coming out of hibernation, along with various animals, are the cricketers.

From first-class level down to village sides, the countdown to the start of play in 2024 is over. April 5 is the big day for County Cricket, and all 18 sides will be brimming with hope and anticipation for the season ahead. How long this hope lasts into the season will depend on how they do on the pitch.

Newly rolled pitches and freshly cut outfields are in shape across the country, and a quiet start to the schedule soon heats up as the Vitality Blast and then The Metro Bank One Day Cup kicks off. For the first month, the Vitality County Championship takes centre stage with each side getting a few rounds in before the white ball cricket.

Debate over the intensity of the cricketing schedule, with the ever-infamous Hundred being put on a pedestal in August once again. With international cricket dotted around the summer, cricket fans in this country are spoilt for choice and the longevity of cricket’s newest tournament remains a hot topic.

A full round of fixtures gets underway today, with defending champions Surrey keen to get off to another flying start. Durham and Worcestershire start life back in the top tier with a home game against Hampshire and a trip to Warwickshire respectively. The two sides will be well up for battling it out with the best sides in the country, and trips to Emirates Old Trafford, Trent Bridge, Edgbaston, and The Kia Oval all make for good days out.

The Kia Oval in the sun (Photo: Surrey CCC)

Division Two makes for equally interesting reading. Lord’s, the home of cricket, will host second-division cricket following Middlesex’s relegation, and joining them is Northamptonshire. The midlands side won just two of their 14 games last season and will have high hopes of topping that in 2024.

The Vitality Blast is still the premier short-format for county sides. Somerset were crowned champions on Finals Day at Edgbaston, with a worldy of a catch from Tom Koehler-Cadmore rounding off a dominant display in the final against Essex. The Blast kicks off at the end of May, and like with the County Championship, any side will fancy their chances before a ball has been bowled.

Sunny evenings, full stadiums, and big-hitting make this tournament a joy to watch, and it's a far reach from the gritty and enticing days of the county championship- but both have their own very different charms.

The white ball game is where most county teams get their money from, but the four-day game is the bread and butter of county cricket. Plenty of England players will turn out for their county sides in April, and it was playing for these sides at the start of their careers that helped them develop into world beaters.

The weather will be unpredictable and probably more so the pitches, but the first step towards the height of summer gets underway with all 18 counties getting to grips with first-class cricket for the first time in almost seven months.



Patrick Hollis

I am a journalist with an honours degree from Coventry University. I’m a published author and journalist with several years experience in the industry