The Hundred: the newest UK cricket tournament is growing - but there are still plenty of creases to iron out

Why there’s still plenty of work to be done to improve The Hundred, as concerns grow over a potential negative impact on other cricket formats.

The dust has settled on just the second ever Hundred tournament, and the champions have had their names carved into the eye-catching big golden trophy.

Oval Invincibles Women and Trent Rockets Men left Lord’s as victors following two tight matches.

Over a month of cricket saw some scintillating performances, and also some records set.

Yet the success of the tournament and its entire existence has been questioned by many fans and pundits of the game from the word go.

The Hundred continues to be a divisive addition to the English cricket calendar, with the main concern being how it is taking up arguably the best month of the summer, while at the same time inflicting damage on other formats of the sport.

The Trent Rockets and Oval Invincibles lift the Hundred Trophies after the Hundred Final match between Trent Rockets and Manchester Originals (Photo: Getty)

There are positives to the Hundred, but they mainly are reserved for the women’s game. It’s undeniable that the women’s tournament, which started late due to the feature of women’s T20 at the Commonwealth Games, has been a resounding success.

2021 it got off to a strong start, and this has improved through the 2022 season. The Oval Invincibles have made the tournament their own, having won back in 2021 and against Southern Brave last Saturday.

The enthusiasm for the women’s Hundred cricket has been clear to see, with big crowds attending many of the matches across the schedule, helping to raise the game’s profile and usher in a new audience of supporters.

I had the pleasure of covering the women’s match between Welsh Fire and Birmingham Phoenix in Cardiff last month, and on display was some fiercely competitive cricket with some of the biggest names in the game - all watched by a strong crowd at Sophia Gardens.

As a whole, the Hundred has introduced many people of all ages to cricket, and this growth of the game can surely only be seen as positive - even to the biggest puritans of the sport appalled by the garish kits on show.

For many people, a visit to the Hundred this summer would have been the first time they experienced live cricket.

It makes for a party atmosphere, with music and fireworks creating a carnival style atmosphere at grounds across the country - for a gateway into the tournament, you couldn’t have asked for much better.

Yet the Hundred needs to be just the catalyst for more.

It was defeat in London for the Manchester Originals

The success of the tournament is great, but it can’t come at the expense of other competitions throughout the summer.

It looks like August will be reserved for the Hundred going forward, and England are due to not have any matches scheduled in that key month for the foreseeable future.

Taking the attention away from county cricket and preventing the national team from playing in the summer’s prime - a month where school children are off and will have more time to watch sport - is a decision which could come back to haunt the ECB.

From the outset, the benefits and drawbacks of the Hundred seem fairly even. The negatives revolve mainly around the scheduling of the tournament and how it seems to be given priority over the county competitions such as the Royal London One Day Cup and the Vitality Blast T20.

The Oval Invincibles celebrate victory with the trophy after The Hundred Final match between Southern Brave Women and Oval Invincibles Women at Lord's

The main positives are, from a personal perspective, within the women’s game. The men’s game didn’t have a great deal to gain from the Hundred, but the success of the women’s game is clear for all to see.

Barring a dramatic u-turn from the ECB, the Hundred will return next summer for its third instalment. Going and supporting this tournament is great, but you don’t just need to watch one of the eight franchises to get your cricketing fix next summer.

18 county sides will play three formats throughout the summer, and would all be appreciative of your support - what is important to remember is that support for county and franchise tournaments are not mutually exclusive.

All formats can be enjoyed equally, such is the beauty of cricket.