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The 2004 English Frizzell County Championship at the half-way mark - a graphic view
by Jack Solock


Event:Frizzell County Championship 2004

If you follow domestic first class cricket in any country, you are obviously interested in where your side is in the points table at any point in the season, and especially at the end of the season. But looking at a points table at any point in the season is only looking at a snapshot.

 

A simple line graph allows us to look at a domestic season as a movie rather than a snapshot. The interested cricket supporter can watch his or her team's "line" move (always up, as no domestic points system deducts points for losses) throughout the season. In this way, a team's progress may be charted.

 

Domestic cricket points systems fall into two broad categories:

 

A. Points for wins, draws, or ties, plus batting and bowling points, based on the number of runs scored and wickets taken in a portion--usually the first 130 overs--of the first innings. The countries using this system are England, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

 

B. Points for wins, draws or ties, plus points for winning the 1st innings of a drawn or lost match (except in one case, see below). The countries using this system are Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the West Indies. India differs slightly from the other five countries in this group at present in that a team can lose its first innings points if it goes on to lose the match.

 

Points systems are set up for the simple reason that many cricket matches of four or three days duration do not have results. Interestingly, in most cases, the team that wins the most games does win the championship in each of these scenarios (or at least gets into the championship final--a feature of every country except England, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh at the moment.

 

Presented below are graphs of the Frizzell County Championship "race" in both divisions, up to 21 July 2004. In essence, the season is at the half-way point. The first two graphs present the actual points totals of each team in each division, graphed through time, so that the "race" can be tracked from the beginning.

 

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These graphs are a bit difficult to decipher because each division has 9 teams, making 9 different lines, and because a win is sometimes difficult to tell from a draw with lots of batting and bowling points. Note that all lines slope upwards. Most teams will get at least one point (they'd have to take less than 3 wickets and score less than 200 runs in 1st innings to get no points). Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire are beginning to assert their authority at the halfway mark.

 

Another way to look at these "races" is simply to subtract the losses from the wins (throwing out the draws), as was done in the English points system in the early part of the 20th Century. Wins, losses, and draws become immediately apparent using this much simpler system. Throwing out the points systems altogether ("1st innings win" systems are arguably worse than the batting and bowling points systems, in that they encourage sitting on a first innings lead) might be a refreshing change. Teams would know the point of the game from the first delivery--to win! In this regard, it is very interesting to compare the two Frizzell 2nd Division charts, especially Nottinghamshire and Glamorgan. What do you think?

 

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(Article: Copyright © 2004 Jack Solock)



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