The ECB have confirmed changes to the format of the Friends Provident Trophy and the Twenty20 Cup becoming effective in the 2008 domestic season.
The first change will take place in the Friends Provident Trophy where the initial stages will be changed to four groups of five teams comprising the 18 First Class Counties as well as Ireland and Scotland.

Each team will play the other four teams in the group twice throughout the competition - home and away. The top two teams from each group will then qualify for the quarter-finals, with the winners of each group earning a home draw.
In terms of the Twenty20 Cup, the group stages will change to a symmetrical format of five home and five away games. The groups will remain regional-based with three groups of six First Class Counties.
ECB Chief Executive David Collier said: “The changes to the format of these two competitions will be implemented for a number of reasons.

“We were keen to reduce the number of so-called “dead games” in the Friends Provident Trophy and add a competitive edge to all of the games in the competition without increasing the volume of cricket.
“The Twenty20 Cup continues to attract new spectators to the sport and the introduction of extra fixtures will give even more people a chance to sample the Twenty20 experience at their local county ground.

“And the prospect of more local derbies will add further spice to the competition at the group stages.
“Counties may play fewer teams under the new structure but there will be more local derbies, thus reducing travel and making the logistics of the programme more acceptable.

“There will also be more opportunities for the supporters of each county to see an increased number of home matches.”