"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson

I.C.C revamp sees emphasis on fours

The ESMBA has announced the first major revamp to the Inter-County Championships for many years and the move sees a big emphasis on fours games. Other major changes include the provision for team managers to choose between 16 and 24 players for each match. The new format sees session one comprising of four rinks games. Session two sees two more fours games being played alongside two triples games. In session three two singles and two pairs games will take place, these will be the only singles and pairs games played. The fourth and final session again sees four rinks games being played. This means that in total the match will comprise of 10 fours games and just two singles, pairs and triples games. There will still be a total of 40 points to be played for each match as in the past but there will be a change to the distribution of the eight bonus points. Two points will now be awarded to the team with the most shots in each of the four sessions. Practice ends, or roll-ups, prior to games will no longer be allowed and no player will be allowed to play on the same mat in consecutive games. The new system also sees an end to counties with Premier and “A” teams having to name their “top 8” players who were tied to the Premier team. All fours games will be played over 10 ends, triples over 12 ends and pairs and singles over 15 ends. The new format will run as a pilot for twelve months with feedback encouraged to assist the ESMBA Management Committee to make a decision on how to move forward. The ESMBA diary for the 2020-21 seasons sees no provision for the I.C.C Rinks event this year, this season a number of counties who originally entered the Rinks event withdrew their teams. Norfolk Premier were entered into the competition for the first time this season but a number of players were unavailable and the weakened team failed to achieve success. Some will see the new format as a kind of amalgamation of the old I.C.C format and the Rinks event and it will be interesting to see how the new format is viewed by county team players.