In 2023 there have been 57 days in the men’s schedule (the total is 702) allocated to outgrounds; Chesterfield, Cheltenham and Scarborough still going, a place for county cricket set in public parks, at clubs as well as in public schools. In 2013, the last summer before Chris Arnot published his book on festivals the figure was 81.
Not great, although there has been an increase in one-day cup games this year, 20 plus played in August and at some new(er) grounds, such as Kibworth and York. Something similar seems likely again next year and maybe some will take root, although the increase has mainly been the counties staging The 100 moving games out, the the future which must be about as certain as the scheduling is stable.
Surrey versus Middlesex women at Guildford was a pleasant early season trip, and List A women’s cricket, the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy, also had 20 plus days on outgrounds when The 100 was not on. Hopefully venue-wise it will stay that way, the T20 competition is more concentrated on county grounds.
The other side of this is the continuing disappearance of Championship fixtures, not everywhere, Lancashire played home games at both Blackpool and Southport, but seven counties scheduled their 39 home days at just one ground. As a counterbalance to the game’s centralising tendencies outgrounds are still on the scales, although it does look like the weights continue to move against.