THE 2023 cricket season certainly had it’s ups and downs, England winning back the Ashes, Somerset winning the T20 Blast, Surrey the County Championship, writes Merv Colenutt.

And the negatives, The Hundred, Metro Cup 50 over cup for mostly second team players, which in turn meant England went into the World Cup competition and failed abysmally as they were so unprepared, in the main because the money attracted the best players.

The 2024 cricket fixtures, which were issued recently, were probably going to be the most eagerly awaited in many a year, with members waiting, in some cases impatiently to see if the county championship games would be played over a weekend at Taunton and in what season in terms of Spring, Summer and Autumn and also when the T20 Blast would be played and whether the Hundred would dominate throughout the month of August once again.

As expected, in terms of whether the paying general public would see any positive news, the fixtures have brought a mixed response.

The Four Day County Championship home games are far more encouraging at home with 6 games out of the 7 being played during the spring month of April and May, one game in June and the conclusion of the season in the Autumn at the end of September, so no championship red ball cricket throughout July and August.

Having spoken to numerous members or non-members in the past few days who were waiting with baited breath whether to join or re-join, has to be fair seen probably 13 of the 20 deciding to become members whilst the other 7 were unsure as the concern was more about the Metro Cup once again becoming a second eleven competition, with almost every Somerset player joining up with the Hundred and then not getting a game.

The T20 Blast which once again is probably going to be Somerset’s best chance of winning any silverware, I believe on this occasion has shown a marked improvement towards the supporters of white ball cricket, that is of course if you are possibly not one of the older guard, as the games at Taunton will be on a Friday or Sunday and played throughout June and July.

The overall feedback from present and past members is that Somerset CCC will certainly be attracting some of their past supporters and see them returning to the county ground as members, not in their droves, but you would hope from the onset that the season, just for a change, brings the county far more points during April than has happened in previous seasons and are not also rans by the end of May.

Gerry Wilson who is a life member of Somerset CCC, still has his concerns about the future of the game in the fact that the game in time, will become more like baseball and my main concern will always remain that with several county sides struggling for revenue, when will India or a franchise look to be investing in a county cricket club, surely that will be on the cards at some stage with several counties struggling financially now.