Time to Look Again?
May 13 2019
The County Championship.
Stuff of dreams? Or nightmares?
Once upon a time, Warwickshire had a hugely competitive side in the Championship. It was made up of Coventry players, with a smattering of Nuneaton, Rugby, and maybe occasionally players from one or two other teams.
We all recall the times when the county side was colloquially known as 'Coventryshire'. And it won County Championships.
So what went wrong?
Well, the easy answer to put forward is 'League rugby'. It's no coincidence that since the advent of leagues, as opposed to Merit tables, the County Championship has been devalued and reduced to a 'oh well, we might as well try to raise a side then, even though...' type of competition. Counties have been separated out into mini leagues, without too much thought as to how that affects them and their natural rivalries (sounds familiar), and some counties have found themselves in the position that they cannot use players that may help to elevate them to a higher level and therefore compete for the 'actual' County Championship, whatever that's called these days.
And that just goes to show how little I know about the competition now. The standard has been so devalued that I have taken very little notice of it for quite a few years, to the point that I am totally confused as to who plays for what.
I do know that Warwickshire are currently being serially embarrassed by their competition.
Saturday was a case in point. Warwickshire were hosts to Leicestershire up at Liberty Way. They'd already been comprehensively beaten in their opening game, and there was no reason to expect that this one was going to be much different.
However, it was different. They weren't comprehensively beaten so much as smashed. Slaughtered. Taken to the cleaners, rinsed, hung out to dry, and then had their backsides spanked for their troubles.
78-0? At home?
No, it must be said that Leics had 14 National League players in their side, when Warks had but two (according to reports - I'd go so far as to say they only had one). There were several from Rugby Lions, from Nuneaton, Southam, Barkers', Newbold. One of the so-called National League pair plays for a Leicestershire side, and the other plays at level 5 (if you count level 5 as National League. I don't personally).
Leics could call upon players from Leicester Lions, South Leicester, Hinckley, and Loughborough Students - all relatively strong National sides. Now, that's not their fault. You call upon the best players that you can, but this is the problem with the County Championship now. It's (I've said it already) devalued by League rugby.
Tacked on to the end of a gruelling season when players should be taking a step back before pitching into pre-season at their club. Counties unable to pick their best players if they happen to play for the 'wrong' clubs, or at the 'wrong' level. What's the point?
Perhaps things will change for Warwickshire. Maybe Rugby Lions, 'Street, and Nuns, will regroup and go again, and regain access to the National leagues, and then offer their carefully nurtured players to the county?.
I'm not holding my breath though.
Roll on September.pqs: qs:
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