The Women’s County Championship Playing Conditions have been updated [PDF here] and in a break with past seasons, the title will be decided on total points not average points.
Previously, in an attempt to equitably account for rained-off matches, points have been averaged so that cancelled games don’t count against a team’s placing. This system had its own quirks – in 2012, Essex came second despite having won just two matches, with 5 games cancelled – but it was generally accepted as fair.
The move to total points however is not accompanied by a change in the way points are allocated. Crucially, this means that while abandoned and tied matches share five points, games that are totally rained-off get zero points. With no obligation to rearrange cancelled matches, this could become very contentious – on a rainy day, the umpires decision to take the field for just 1 ball could be the difference between death and glory if a team needed, say, 5 points to seal the championship.
The new playing conditions are also somewhat shorter than before, because all the sections about promotion and relegation have been removed. Though it has been an open secret for some months that the 35-team county championship will be reduced to likely just 8 teams in 2020, with no promotion or relegation, the ECB has not yet made any official statement about this, and so the new playing conditions (amazingly!) represent the first semi-official confirmation of these changes.