ECB reacts to criticism of competition's format June 23, 2006

C&G Trophy to include semi-finals in 2007

Cricinfo staff

The ECB has reacted to counter criticism of this season's C&G Trophy by announcing that in 2007 the competition will feature semi-finals as well as a final at Lord's.

There have been grumbles that this year's format, where only the winners of the two nine-county leagues progress to the final, meant that there were too many meaningless matches. Counties who had lost early on and were therefore out of the reckoning, sometimes fielded weak or very young sides.

"There were extremely strong cricketing reasons for reintroducing a semi-final stage in next year's competition," explained Hugh Morris, the ECB's deputy chief executive. "The introduction of semi-finals will increase the intensity of the competition during the popular regional group stages. This move will benefit the players and the spectators alike."

The ECB also needs to find a sponsor for the event as C&G's deal expires at the end of 2006.