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County Championship to return in 2021; teams to compete for two trophies
County Championship

County Championship to return in 2021; teams to compete for two trophies

A rejigged format of the County Championship next year will see clubs compete in a three-league structure with two first-class trophies up for grabs.

The tournament was scrapped this season owing to the detrimental effects of the coronavirus pandemic that threw the sporting calendar into disarray.

The County Championship was thus replaced with the Bob Willis Trophy, which will continue in 2021 as well.

All of the 18 first-class counties have agreed to a revamped structure for the upcoming season with a showpiece five-day final at Lord's to conclude the competition.

Essex are the current holders of both the 2019 County Championship and the inaugural Bob Willis Trophy titles they achieved earlier this summer.

Each county is divided into three seeded groups of six teams and will play 10 matches during the group stages. The top two teams from each group then advance to Division One while the rest of the counties move into Divisions Two and Three respectively based on their standing.

After participating in four more matches, the table-toppers of Division One will be crowned county champions. These victors will clash with the second-placed side in Division One to earn bragging rights for clinching the Bob Willis Trophy.

"I am delighted that the counties have been able to reach this agreement less than three weeks after Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy final at Lord’s," said Ian Whatmore, England and Wales Cricket Board chairman.

"The success of that competition provides reassurance that this structure can help safeguard against any impact the global pandemic may have on next season while also ensuring the integrity of the County Championship."