SOMERSET look set to support the creation of 'The 100' as "working with the ECB is the best way to drive growth in cricket".

The county chairmen meet in the coming weeks, with a change in the articles of association needed to give the new tournament the seal of approval.

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Somerset chairman Charles Clark was absent at Monday night's club AGM through illness and, while CEO Andrew Cornish stressed the vote would be Clark's and not the club's, he explained the general consensus within the committee is that there was "no point" being in "a minority of one or two."

"Like it or not, some counties need the £1.3m a year," Cornish said to a full Colin Atkinson Pavilion.

"We have the biggest match in women's cricket here this summer, the Women's Ashes Test - we wouldn't have got that without repairing our relations with the ECB.

"We feel working with the ECB is the best way to drive growth in cricket and we don't see the benefit of standing out on a matter of principle."

This brought a mixed reaction from members, some of whom voiced their displeasure - Cornish went on to say the club have had "firm words" with the ECB over certain aspects of the new tournament, set to begin in 2020, such as the fact the south west has been "short changed".

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry was keen to point out the benefits Somerset could see as a result of the new competition.

Somerset's top players could feature in the tournament, meaning they will be ineligible for county matches for up to six weeks at the height of summer, but Hurry insisted this would "accelerate the learning" of the club's young players.

"Our young players being exposed to first team cricket and playing in front of four of five thousand people is an exciting opportunity for them," Hurry said.

"It is imperative we get behind the new competition and make the most of it.

"I understand the frustrations but we have to look forward, not back."

The only matter which came close to producing a similarly divisive reaction in the room was, perhaps bizarrely, that of allowing dogs into the ground.

A question from the floor asked if dogs could be banned, which led to several grumbles in response, and Cornish confirmed the policy of allowing dogs in is likely to remain in place.

Hurry later detailed the "productive meeting" the club had with ECB officials regarding marking of pitches.

Somerset's pitch was marked 'below average' after the County Championship tie against Lancashire and the club were warned they were "treading a very fine line".

Somerset's director of cricket explained his view that there was too much subjectivity in the language currently used - "one Pitch Liaison Officer will see 'excessive' turn differently to another" - and believes progress is being made in eliminating that ambiguity.

Treasurer Malcolm Derry, who is stepping down from the role after seven years, then gave a review of the club's financial year - the key points of which were:

  • Somerset earned £1.6m from gates and match receipts - £125,000 more than in 2017 (excluding the IT20 and Women's World Cup) and the second highest of the counties, behind only Surrey.
  • 33% of Somerset's turnover comes from the ECB - at some counties this is nearly 70%.
  • Somerset's cricket costs (£2.58m, 40% of expenditure) are the fifth highest among the counties.
  • The floodlight cost (£2m, £1m of which came in a grant from the ECB and £1m in a short-term loan from Barclays) is due to be paid off by October 2019.

The evening ended with the appointment of Brian Rose as the new Somerset County Cricket Club president, taking over from Richard Parsons.

Rose, who has previously been captain, chairman of cricket and director of cricket at the club, was voted in unanimously and gave a short acceptance speech in which he joked his Labrador would be most upset if the club banned dogs from the ground and said he would put an emphasis on spotting and nurturing young cricketing talent in the south west.

Parsons was thanked for his longstanding service in various roles at the club and received a warm round of applause as the meeting came to an end after just over an hour.