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ECB decide to keep t20 format unchanged

Next years Friends Provident t20 tournament will keep its mind numbing 151 match schedule after the ECB failed to listen to the majority of counties who had voiced their concerns about dwindling crowds.

The tournament, which replaced the Twenty20 Cup; started off promisingly in the summer with a full house at Hove to watch the Sussex Sharks take on the Somerset Sabres, a repeat of the 2009 Twenty20 Cup final, a game the Sharks won.

Unfortunately this proved to be one of the few highlights for the tournament; which saw some games being played in front of crowds of less then 2,000 after the tournament failed to ignite the public’s imagination.

With spectator levels dropping to worrying levels a number of counties resorted to giving away hundreds of tickets to local cricket clubs and schools in an effort to boost flagging attendances.

The ECB had planned to reduce the number of group games; but having set up a working party they were swayed by a number of smaller counties, including Essex, Somerset and Sussex who were opposed to reducing the number of t20 matches.

The biggest sign that Twenty20 cricket has reached saturation point came at the Brit Oval during the second week of the tournament when only 4,900 people turned up to watch Gloucestershire’s 10 wicket demolition of Surrey.

Yorkshire was one of the Counties which voted in favour to reduce the number of games in next years tournament after suffering a number of poorly attended group matches.

Stewart Regan, Yorkshire's chief executive admitted the attendance levels at Headingly this summer only matched those of 2009 despite hosting three extra home games.

In a interview with the Yorkshire Post Regan said "In our view, eight Twenty20 games home and away has caused fixture congestion, lack of rest days and hasn't seen the upturn in attendances people expected."

"This year at Yorkshire we saw a similar total crowd across our home Twenty20 games to what we saw in 2009, but we had the costs of three extra home matches to carry."

"We had just over 10,000 for the Lancashire game, which, given that the weather was okay was a disappointing attendance because we've had a full house in previous years."

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