What's up for grabs in 2007
As the county season swings into action Cricinfo provides a lowdown on all the silverware that is on offer over the coming months.
It's as you were with the most highly prized of the domestic trophies. Two divisions of nine teams with two promotion and relegation places. All matches are four days in duration with 104 overs per day except for the last which is 96. The new ball is available after 80, in line with Tests, but the tea interval is flexible; it is either taken at 4.10 or when 32 overs remain to be bowled.
The points system also remains the same; 14 for a win and four for a draw, plus the eight bonus points available for batting and bowling. The extra batting points come at intervals of 200, 250, 300, 350 and 400 runs within the first 130 overs for the first innings. The bowling points are available for the same duration and are claimed at three, six and nine wickets down.
Friends Provident Trophy (formerly C&G Trophy) - Holders: Sussex
This competition has been known under so many guises and sponsors it is hard to keep track. Again it goes under a new name for 2007 and it's the competition which brings with it the one significant change. After many complaints during last season there will now be a semi-final stage before the Lord's final in August. This will enable more teams to stay in the running, leading to less dead matches if a side has couple of losses or early season washouts. The matches are played along international lines - 50 overs, white balls, coloured clothes - with one perplexing difference; there are a no Powerplays, just the traditional 15 overs of fielding restrictions. So much for replicating the higher level.
However, this competition is also being used to trial the latest use of technology in cricket with both sides allowed to refer two decisions to the third umpire during an innings. Only the fielding captain or batsman involved can call for the TV replay, but each time the third umpire overrules them they lose one of their referrals. This will only be available in televised games, bringing suggestions that it will favour some teams over others, while there is skepticism among players as to how it will work.
Twenty20 - Holders: Leicestershire
The regional stage remains for the qualifying section of the summer's big-hitting extravaganza. There are eight matches in the group stages with extra derby encounters to keep the local rivalries alive. The top two from each region, plus the two best third placed sides, will move into the quarter-finals. The finals day is at Edgbaston on August 14 where both semis and the final will be completed.
Pro40 - Holders: Essex
The final one-day tournament again takes in the second half of the season and continues as two divisions with either home or away matches against the other teams. There are two automatic promotion and relegation places with a third behind decided in a play-off between the seventh-placed team in division one and the third-placed team in division two. Last season Hampshire won the play-off against Glamorgan to earn promotion to the first division.
So, that's the four trophies on offer and now it's the start of five months of action to find out who'll get their hands on them.
Andrew McGlashan is staff writer of Cricinfo