Club Cricket Conference

Wednesday, 22nd May 2024

Club Cricket Conference Representative Sides

By Richard Edwards

18th October 2022

It has been another hugely successful season for the Club Cricket Conference representative sides – on and off the pitch.  

In a summer where the sun was rarely behind a cloud, the mercury soared and club cricket prospered up and down the country, the CCC XI showcased everything that’s good about the recreational game. It also provided an opportunity for some of England’s best club cricketers to illustrate why representing the Conference continues to maintain its allure.

Success, though, can’t be judged on results alone. Winning games of cricket is great, but that’s not why the CCC XI exists.  

“It wouldn’t be right to judge whether we had a successful or unsuccessful season based on results – its a bit more nuanced than that,” says Simon Prodger, secretary, Club Cricket Conference.  

“We’ve proven to be a helpful late entry pathway for club cricketers into the county game over the last few seasons, people like Ben Compton who has had a fantastic season with Kent, Dan Moriarty at Surrey and a number of others. 

“We’ve been a part of their pathway for a number years now. It definitely provides for that, but it also provides for amateur cricketers who are happy to be amateurs but still want to challenge themselves at a higher level than just club cricket.”  

The shining examples of Compton and Moriarty provide an indication of the kind of quality that the CCC XI can call upon. And a number of high profile sides have experienced the excellence on offer at first-hand this summer.  

Victories over Essex Second XI, Hong Kong, MCC, Free Foresters, Huntingdonshire and the Isle of Wight are testimony to that. A narrow defeat to a touring Grenada XI was also among the highlights. 

Another function of the CCC representative side is also to provide competition for county sides, at the time of the season when they need it most. 

“We played Kent and Hampshire in the most difficult format for club cricketers to compete against pros, which is T20,” says Prodger. 

“Tom Prest was outstanding against us when we played Hampshire. We tend to play the counties in the format that they want to play given the time of the season they want to play at. That inevitably means that the sides we’re playing against are quite strong. 

“The Kent side was played at Beckenham, for example, I think five of that side played in the first T20 Blast game.

Hampshire was something similar, a lot of those players were playing for a place in the county’s white ball side. 

“Middlesex were looking at what their Royal London side was going to be and a significant number of the side that met us in a 50 over contest ended up being the backbone of their team in that campaign.”  

All of which, of course, means the fixtures aren’t just great for the counties, they’re also a fantastic opportunity for those picked for the CCC XI to show what they’re capable of too. 

This season also provided a chance for a range of clubs – some big, some far smaller – to host top level cricket. 

Sparsholt, a small village on the outskirts of Hampshire, for example – played host to 2 x T20 fixtures between the CCC XI and the Isle of Wight, and Ramsey CC host both T20 & 50/50 matches v Huntingdonshire. 

The matches were designed to test the suitability of both to join the National Counties set-up and on a sun-baked south coast day v Isle of Wight, the Southern Premier League Division One side’s historic Norman Edwards ground, took centre-stage. 

“It was a great day,” says Sparsholt chairman, Andy Worth. “We’re very proud of our ground and it was fantastic to have the opportunity to welcome those teams on the day. The weather played ball too.”  

For Prodger, spreading the fixtures across the country, is another key ambition.  

“Historically, we’ve always played our ‘home’ matches, for want of a better description at member clubs grounds,” he says. “But there are some clubs that are very keen to host a higher level of cricket so they can promote both the club itself and their facilities. 

“We’re very grateful for it. Going to places like Sparsholt is always a pleasure for us. We’ve played at a lot of fantastic grounds this season and the clubs that have hosted our games have done a brilliant job. All of them.”  

So, there we have it. Another season over, and another summer of cricket to look back and reflect on.

The sun shone. And so did the players, the grounds and everyone who supports a representative team with a difference.

The 2022 CCC fixtures are  here on our website (then follow the links for each match)