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3rd & 4th XI Cricket in 2019

By Surrey Championship

Revised proposal following the October Council Meeting.

The following information will be sent directly to all Club Chairs and key contacts via the monthly newsletter with a request for feedback and questions, but for widest circulation, we are posting this update on our website and our social media channels meanwhile.


This article sets out the Committee’s revised proposals for 3rd & 4th XI cricket in 2019 following the Council meeting. This replaces the suggestion of putting out a further questionnaire. However, this is a consultation none the less and clubs are free to comment on what is proposed.

Following this final window for feedback, a formal notice setting out the changes will be issued shortly before Christmas to be voted on at the Surrey Championship AGM on 28th January.


Following the discussions at the Council meeting on 15th October, the Committee has taken further stock of the debate about playing conditions for the new 3rd and 4th XI structure. The meeting concluded with a proposal from the Chairman to undertake further consultation with clubs before finalising options for voting on at the AGM. However, the Committee now prefers to adopt a different process by putting forward a further, and slightly revised, set of proposals for change. We believe we now need to start closing options down rather than opening them wider as could well be the result of getting more views on every issue.

We would like to remind everyone that as many opinions of captains and players as possible have been already been gained at captains’ meetings and through the 3rd and 4th XI players’ survey. If you have not already seen the results of the survey please do review this link as we consider it essential that these replies are fully taken account of in decisions about how cricket is played at 3rd and 4th XI level in future years. We have however taken note of some of the varying views put forward at the Council meeting which challenged the proposals circulated prior to that meeting. For these reasons we very much hope the changed proposals will gain general support.

Given the radical changes to the structure, there is no “status quo” which could apply if the Committee’s proposals were turned down. However, it is possible to interpret the playing conditions which applied to 3rd and 4th XI cricket last season in a way which would make them usable in the new structure. That is what we will offer as the “fallback” alternative to our preferred approach. The proposal document summarises our response to points brought forward at the Council meeting and sets out the alternative approaches against the main issues for decision.

Summary of Committee consideration

  • We originally proposed a limited overs approach for all 3rd/4th XI cricket. We now propose a split format for matches in the top two divisions, but we have taken the clear preference for overs cricket emerging from the players’ survey as making the case for all matches in lower divisions to be limited overs.
  • As proposed to Council, we continue to favour shorter games further down the structure and propose different lengths of the game in Premier/Div 1, Divs 2/3 and Divs 4/5 respectively.
  • We propose 12:00 starts in the top two divisions and 13:00 starts otherwise. Flexible start times are not offered at this stage in view of comments at the Council meeting. We would, however, be interested in identifying a division prepared to trial this approach.
  • Despite some views expressed at the Council meeting, we have serious concerns about the threats to competitiveness and transparency which would arise from teams from the same club playing league cricket against each other. We offer a preferred promotion/relegation system which would not allow this to happen.

The alternatives in more detail

IssueCommittee ProposalFallback based on 2018 PCs
Limited overs or split formatSplit format for Premier and 1st Divisions, all matches in Divisions 2-5 limited overs.Split format at all levels.
Length of gamePrem and Div 1: 100 oversPrem and Div 1: 100 overs
Divisions 2 & 3: 90 oversDivisions 2-5: 90 overs
Divisions 4 & 5: 80 overs
Start times12 for Prem and Div 1, 1pm for regionalsAs for Committee Proposal
Promotion and relegationTwo up two down with these exceptions: 1 up from each regional Division 2 to Division 1; No relegation from regional Divisions 5.; No club to have two teams in the same divisionAs for Committee Proposal, but no provisions to prevent two teams from one club being in the same division. (But 4th/5th teams not to be promoted above 3rd/4th teams – see below.}
3rd XI relegated to division containing same club’s 4th XI3rd XI is not be relegated, and the 4th XI remains in its existing division. Only one side relegated (and one promoted from the lower division). Promotion and relegation take their course regardless of club teams coming together.
4th XI promoted to division containing same club’s 3rd XI.4th XI is not promoted, and the 3rd XI remains in its existing division. Only one side promoted from the lower division (and one relegated from the higher).As above.
3rd XI and 4th XI are two divisions apart but former are relegated and latter promoted.3rd XI are relegated and 4th XI are not promoted. Promotion and relegation for other teams adjusted as necessary to balance divisions.As above.
3rd and 4th XIs in adjacent divisions the former relegated and the latter promoted. Teams cannot “bypass” each other. Both remain in their existing divisions and one up and one down promotion and relegation applies.As for the Committee Proposal.
Cricket BallsOne type of ball to be used across all divisions. Funding arrangements to be further discussed with Fullers but any financial benefit from Fullers sponsorship to go to clubs which currently have their 1st XI in FBSCL.As for Committee Proposal.

Where next?

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