Friday, 14 November 2014

Women's Ashes - Points of Order

The schedule for next summer's Women's Ashes has been announced, together with some significant tweaks to the format.

So... here are the deets:

Date Format Venue Win Draw
July 21 ODI The County Ground, Taunton 2 1
July 23 ODI Bristol County Ground 2 1
July 26 ODI New Road, Worcester 2 1
August 11-14 Test The Spitfire Ground, Canterbury 4 2
August 26 T20 Essex County Ground, Chelmsford 2 N/A
August 28 T20 County Ground, Hove 2 N/A
August 31 T20 SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff 2 N/A

There's actually quite a lot to digest here, so let's break it down!

It's great that the schedule has been announced so early - fans do need time to make their travel arrangements and book their hotels, so it is fantastic that the ECB are at last recognizing that their are women's cricket fans who want to plan ahead!

Not only that, but all of the games are taking place at proper county grounds, designed to cater for bigger crowds. (Sorry Wormsley - you are lovely, but...) Sadly, there's no Lords on the agenda; but you can't have everything I guess; and I accept that there are some draw-backs (not least financial ones) to half-opening the Home of Cricket for women's games, even if it is The Ashes.

Now on to the changes in format!

Firstly, the Test has been moved to the middle of the series. My understanding is that this was mostly driven by TV scheduling, and the need to find a window which didn't clash with any of the men's games; but I think it is nonetheless a positive move in terms of not front-loading the Big Points.

And secondly... about those Big Points: the Test will now be worth just 4 points, rather than the previous 6. The value of the Test will be argued long and hard by fans, as it has been by the administrators, so I'm told! And the bottom line is that most of us agree that the Test probably should be worth 6 points "philosophically"; but practically this makes the series too unbalanced and I think 4 is therefore a good compromise.

Finally, SKY have announced that the whole caboodle - Test and all - will be broadcast live and in full. I'm not SKY's biggest fan, but you have to give them some credit here, as well as the ECB for nudging away at them to take up the rights they've paid for and give the game the exposure it deserves.

7 comments:

  1. I'd have previously suggested that having 2 Tests, whilst a good idea, was not tenable because of the length of time the tourists would have to spend in this country - not any more. Heck they are going to be here 6 weeks, albeit with a nip over to the emerald isle. Perhaps they are heading towards 2 Tests sometime in the future. Perhaps also it has been realised that visiting teams need proper preparation.

    Putting the Test on telly is brave and the players have to realise that plodding along at 2 runs an over really isn't going to 'sell' women's cricket to a TV audience. A positive approach with the bat is essential.

    6 points for the Test not only make the series too unbalanced but it meant (a) a team could win the Ashes by winning a minority of the matches (b) a team could win the Ashes having lost 2 of the 3 formats. 4 points also increases the probability of the series not being decided until the last match from 31.25% to just over 52% (assuming both teams are deemed equally likely to win any given match).

    Ironically, with the final match being a double-header, there may be a fair few women's cricket fans hoping it doesn't go all the way to the last match.

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  2. Thanks for the summary Syd.

    I personally think it is a shame that the last match is a double-header with the men. Watching the Women's match at Edgbaston this summer, the stands looked almost empty but when I tried to buy tickets it was totally sold out... obviously due to the men playing later!
    Sadly I think this will never happen but how about having the men play first and then the women's game afterwards, more people may be encouraged to stay to watch the women and will they really not sell all the seats?

    Well done ECB for announcing the schedule for next summer, I am now regretting booking my summer holiday as I left at the end of this years as it rules me out for the ODIs, oh well my fault for being too organised!!

    Any recommendations for an overnight stay in Canterbury, Chelmsford or Hove anyone??

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  3. Rugby Union play their double-headers men first and let anyone in free for the women's match. If we have to have double headers let's at least play them men first.

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  4. If the series is going to be called "the Ashes" I think Test cricket probably should be the maiin or at least equal factor in deciding the victor. Then again I can see the point in keeping the series a live for longer.
    What would happen if it was 1 point for a T20 2 for an ODI and 3 for a Test?

    Lords is no loss IMO. I know the players probably buy into the myth and will be disappointed but I'm with Ian Chappell when it comes to the "home" of cricket.
    In any case for now it's probably better to play at a county ground with smaller capacity to build some atmosphere rather than playing in front of an isolated (relative) handful in a larger stadium.

    I'm not certain men first will be quite the success that's being mooted.

    Look at the doubles finals at WImbledon for example. Played after the marquee singles finals but often in front of only a scattering of spectators who've decided to stay on. It's especially bad if there's no name players or (rare) home interest.
    At this years British Athletics Grand Prix there was a programme of para-sports after the main event. Again it was clear the majority of the crowd had left.

    A men first double header is worth a try but there will always be a struggle trying to get people to watch something they haven't actually bought the ticket for.

    Not sure which looks worse. Playing to a half empty stadium because people haven't come in for the "warm up act" or a half empty stadium because people want to beat the traffic.

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  5. hypocaust: you asked "What would happen if it was 1 point for a T20 2 for an ODI and 3 for a Test?"
    Well ..... if we assume that (i) the Test won't be played last thus avoiding negative play from the team, if any, that is ahead (ii) both teams are equally likely to win any match and (iii) ODIs are played after T20s to minimise the odds that the Series will be decided before the later matches then.....
    1. Just over 3% chance that a team could win The Ashes by winning a minority of matches.
    2. Just over 3% chance that a team could win The Ashes having lost 2 of the 3 formats
    3. No chance the Series could be decided before the final format starts (albeit the holders of The Ashes could ensure they can't lose the Series before the final format starts)
    4.Just over 79% chance the Series is not decided before the 6th match
    5.Just over 45% chance the Series is not decided before the 7th match
    The same probability for the proposed system is 0%, 0%, 8.33%, 75% and 52.08%.
    In other words, T=3,O=2,t=1 isn't that bad at all.

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    Replies
    1. Very interesting - thank you :-)

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    2. Wasn't expecting that :D. Thanks.

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