SOMERSET fans have reacted strongly to the news that Taunton will not host either a new T20 team or any England internationals between 2020 and 2024.

The major match allocation announced yesterday (Wednesday) by the ECB saw the South West overlooked for the new T20 tournament beginning in 2020, with neither Taunton or Bristol handed a franchise.

READ MORE: Taunton misses out on hosting new T20 tournament

The competition is aimed at attracting new supporters to the game, but anyone who likes the look of it in Taunton or further west will have to travel at least 79 miles to see it live (see below).

Somerset County Gazette:

DISTANCE: Of the towns or cities to currently hold First Class cricket, only those from Durham will have to travel further than supporters in Taunton.

The ECB claimed in Wednesday's press release that the host grounds represented a "strong geographical spread", a claim which could justifiably be countered not only by the Westcountry but also by those in the north east, with Durham's Riverside ground left off the list of host venues.

A prospective cricket supporter in Exeter or Newcastle would face a lengthy journey to see the competition live; by contrast, someone in the same boat in Sheffield would have a choice of three grounds (Headingley, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge) within a 46-mile radius.

Part of this is simple geography, of course - Sheffield is more centrally located and closer to the bigger grounds - but there is a sense it will be difficult to truly grow the game when large parts of the population are cut off from seeing it either live or on television, with only a minority of games to be made available on free-to-air channels.

None of these are new arguments - this is a discussion which has rumbled on for several years now - and it must also be noted that Somerset voted in favour of the competition despite supporters' fears that they would be overlooked by it.

A lack of international cricket also caused consternation for supporters in the region, particularly in light of the improvements Somerset have made to the Cooper Associates County Ground - with floodlights still to come - and the successful hosting of June's IT20 between England and South Africa.

BBC commentator Anthony Gibson described the decision to overlook Taunton as "a betrayal and a disgrace", while many were concerned at the potential impact of the decision for cricket in the Westcountry.

Sky Sports pundit and former England international David 'Bumble' Lloyd also expressed his surprise at Taunton being overlooked.

Somerset will hope their crowds remain strong for the Blast competition, which will continue to run alongside the new tournament from 2020, but they and the other 'smaller' counties are entitled to wonder what the future may hold as the divide between themselves and those with Test match grounds appears to become evermore entrenched.