When does the 2022 LV= Insurance County Championship season start?
The season begins on Thursday, 7 April.
The first seven rounds have all been scheduled from Thursday-Sunday in successive weeks in the build-up to the LV= Insurance Test Series against world champions New Zealand.
There will be a further five rounds in June and July – ensuring more four-day cricket in the height of summer – before the Division One and Two titles are set to be decided in September.
What is the competition format this summer?
We are returning to a two-division structure for the first time since 2019.
There will be 10 counties in Division One and eight in Division Two with a two-up, two-down promotion-and-relegation system.
Each county will play 14 LV= Insurance County Championship matches, with seven home matches and seven away matches.
Which counties will play in Division One and Division Two?
Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Surrey, Warwickshire, Yorkshire
Derbyshire, Durham, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Sussex, Worcestershire.
Why were the fixtures delayed and have results in the men’s Ashes affected them?
The process to compile the fixture list is complex task that requires certainty across a number of areas.
A unique complication of this summer’s fixtures was that the ECB was only able to begin piecing the jig-saw of the fixtures together once the First-Class Counties agreed to return to a two-division structure.
The fixtures take months to construct – meaning the process started before the men’s Ashes started - and so it does not reflect the forthcoming discussion the entire game is set to have to re-set our men’s red-ball strategy.
The 2022 fixtures do, however, reflect some of the learnings and discussions that we continue to have with the game, highlighted by scheduling more rounds of LV= Insurance County Championship matches in June and July.
There will be five rounds during those months – an increase from three rounds last summer – to help preparations ahead of the LV= Insurance Test Series against South Africa and give fans more red-ball cricket on those long summer days.
The first seven rounds have all been scheduled from Thursday-Sunday in successive weeks to allow fans more opportunity to attend at weekends.
This block of matches will also build towards the LV= Insurance Test Series against world champions New Zealand. The men’s domestic red-ball season will also not stretch into October as it did last year.
Why are there 10 counties in Division One?
The First-Class Counties agreed to this change to the structure before the pandemic.
The 2018 Domestic Playing Programme review recommended the change, which was unanimously agreed by the First-Class Counties.
The pandemic has, however, meant that the 10:8 model has not been played since that agreement.
The first steps to transition to a 10:8 model were taken in 2019 – when three clubs were promoted (Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire) and one relegated (Nottinghamshire).
Last September, following two pandemic-affected seasons, the First-Class Counties agreed the time was right to begin the two-division 10:8 structure.
Given the past two seasons were played in a group-stage format, how were the divisions decided?
The three counties that were promoted at the end of the 2019 County Championship (Lancashire, Gloucestershire and Northamptonshire) will be given the opportunity they earned to play in Division One.
Nottinghamshire were the lone club relegated that season, and will play in Division Two.
How many ‘overseas’ players can each county play?
Each county can field a maximum of two ‘overseas’ players in an LV= Insurance County Championship match.
How can I watch and follow?
There has never been a better time and more opportunity to stay updated with your county and in 2022 every ball will be covered.
The BBC Local Radio stations will continue to provide their first-class coverage of every ball of every match of the LV= Insurance County Championship.
The ECB will again host live streams of every match on the ECB website and ECB app, to ensure the match is always as close as your mobile device, with daily highlights.
As a reminder, here’s where you can follow the LV= Insurance County Championship across ECB’s channels: