|Administrator||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Tournament format||two nine-team divisions
home and away in 4-day matches.
|Number of teams||18|
|Most successful||Yorkshire (30 titles + 1 shared)|
|Most runs||Phil Mead (46,268)|
|Most wickets||Tich Freeman (3,151)|
|2013 County Championship|
|This section requires expansion. (September 2013)|
The eighteen English first-class counties are the main cricket teams in England. They are all named after (and originally represented) historic English counties. Although Glamorgan is a Welsh county, it is generally included when referring to the English first-class counties.
The English first-class counties are:
The full name of the cricket team is usually formed from the name of the county followed by the words County Cricket Club, which are often abbreviated as CCC.
Other first-class teams
When the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) plays against one of the first-class counties, the game is granted first-class status. The opening first-class game of an English county cricket season has been traditionally played at Lord's between the MCC and the Champion County - the club that won the County Championship the previous year.
Six MCC University (MCCU) teams, so-called because they are sponsored by the MCC, are also afforded first-class status for some of their matches against a first-class county. They are:
- Cambridge MCCU (from 1827)
- Oxford MCCU (from 1827)
- Durham MCCU (from 2001)
- Loughborough MCCU (from 2003)
- Cardiff MCCU (from 2012)
- Leeds/Bradford MCCU (from 2012)
Most of the first-class counties play three-day games against university cricket teams in the early part of the English cricket season. This is partly because the start of the cricket season coincides with the end of the university academic year, and partly because the games act as pre-season warm-ups for the county clubs.
The minor counties are the cricketing counties of England that are not afforded first-class status.
Some teams outside of the English counties have been allowed to take part in some English county cricket one-day competitions. They include:
The County Championship is the domestic first-class cricket competition in England and Wales. All of the first-class counties compete in a two-division league format.
The ECB 40 is a one-day cricket competition in county cricket. It was introduced in 2010 to replace the Pro40 and Friends Provident Trophy. In the current format, the 18 counties, plus Scotland, the Netherlands and the Unicorns, are split into 3 groups of 7. Each team plays the other in the group home once and away once. The top team from each league plus the second-placed team with the best record then compete in semi-finals, the winners of which qualify for the final to decide the winner. The competition is played throughout the English cricket season from April and closes the season in mid-September.
The Friends Life t20 is a Twenty20 cricket competition contested by the eighteen first-class counties. The game is limited to 20 overs per side, and the emphasis is on fast action. It replaced the Twenty20 Cup in 2010.
Minor counties cricket
The minor counties compete in their own separate competitions. The Minor Counties Cricket Championship consists of two leagues, with the minor counties split geographically. The ten sides in each division play each other once in a three-day game. The winners of the two leagues then play to decide a champion. The MCCA Knockout Trophy is a one-day knock-out competition, with a final at Lord's.
Women's County Cricket
The County Championship is fought-out each year, in a similar manner to the men's. A large number of counties are involved, and feature in a single divisional pyramid stricture. The Women's county game focuses upon 50 over cricket. Promotion and regulation is a feature throughout.
Div 1 (in 2012)
Div 2 (in 2012)
There are also Division 3 and 4 and below that a Regional Division.