The Hundred, England’s first franchise cricket tournament, introduced a whole new format to the sport.
Each team was given 100 balls to bat per innings and bowlers having overs split into five or ten deliveries as opposed to the regular six.
One of the competition’s aims was to increase the profile of cricket among younger people and those who hadn’t seen the game, and in that regard, it was extremely successful.
A total of 510,000 tickets were sold for the 68 games across the women’s and men’s competitions, with around 20% of those spectators being children, 21% female – and 55% having never seen a live cricket game in the UK before.
Furthermore, 267,000 fans were present for the women’s competition alone, making it the most-viewed female cricket tournament of all-time.
With that in mind, which of those spectators got the best bank for their buck? More specifically, which stadium, and on which day, was the best (and worst) place or time to go to for runs and wickets?
Matches for The Hundred took place at eight venues – Lord’s (home to the London Spirit), The Oval (Oval Invincibles), Headingley (Northern Superchargers), The Rose Bowl (Southern Brave), Edgbaston (Birmingham Phoenix), Trent Bridge (Trent Rockets), Sophia Gardens (Welsh Fire), and Old Trafford (Manchester Originals) – and games were played on each of the seven days of the week.
It is worth noting for these calculations, we are using averages as opposed to overall figures, given that some days and venues hosted more games than others during the separate tournaments, and any matches that were abandoned without a ball being bowled are not considered.
In the women’s game, the best place to visit for runs was Edgbaston at an average of 264.75 runs across the four matches that were played there, whereas the worst was at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens, at just 215.5 runs per game.
Wickets-wise, barring two significant outliers, all the stadiums are very close, but The Oval is clear of the others on 13.5 wickets per game, and the Rose Bowl lagged behind the rest on just eight.
Moving over to the men’s competition, and by stark contrast to the women’s tournament, Sophia Gardens was the stadium which saw the highest average number of runs per game at 305.5, with five team scores of 150 or more being registered across eight innings in Wales.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Old Trafford, which did have a game which was stopped before the first innings of the match was completed owing to rain, came in last on a measly average of 184.
When it comes to wickets, both first and last place, namely The Oval (13.6) and The Rose Bowl (9.5) respectively, were exactly the same as in the women’s competition.
For determining which was the best stadium to visit overall, each one has been given a certain number of points based on their rankings in the respective categories, with eight points awarded for coming out in first, seven for second, and just one for finishing dead last.
In all, those who attended games at Edgbaston would have had the best value for money overall, as their score of 26 points across the four categories just edged out Trent Bridge by one point.
Meanwhile, the Rose Bowl and Old Trafford were cut adrift from the others in joint-last place, as their tally of just 12 points apiece meant that they were the “worst” venues to go to during the 2021 season of the Hundred.
Moving on to the individual days of the week, the best day to go to a match in the women’s tournament for people who prefer high-scoring games was Wednesday, with its average of 255 runs per game eclipsing all others.
Surprisingly, though, the worst day was actually a Saturday, which is notorious for being one of the most popular days to go and watch sport, on just 218.71 runs per match.
For those who were only interested in wickets as opposed to runs, Friday was the go-to day with 13.2 wickets on average, and it was best to stay away on Thursdays given its average of 8.67 per match.
It seems as though Wednesday was the day for runs, as it comes out on top in the men’s competition as well on an average of 321.67 per match, with Thursday lagging behind the others on just 237.25.
Perhaps expectedly given Wednesday’s high run count, it comes out in last on the wicket averages on 8.67 per match, with Monday finishing in first by this criteria on 13.75.
With all this accounted for – and using the same points system as before but with seven awarded for first owing to there being seven days in the week – spectators who watched games on Fridays were treated to the most entertaining matches, whereas those who had the misfortune of going to games on Thursdays would have come away feeling the most short-changed out of anyone.
Therefore, the best combination of games during the 2021 season of the Hundred were those held at Edgbaston on a Friday (of which there were actually two), and the worst was either a visit to the Rose Bowl or Old Trafford on a Thursday (which only occurred once). Some handy advice for anyone wanting to go to matches next year, no doubt.