The Hundred: Welsh Fire name could 'alienate' West Country fans - Vic Marks

An ECB 100-ball competition pilot cricket match was held at Trent Bridge in 2018
An ECB 100-ball competition pilot cricket match was held at Trent Bridge in 2018

Former England all-rounder Vic Marks says that fans of Gloucestershire and Somerset will feel alienated if The Hundred franchise for the area is called Welsh Fire.

It emerged that the name has been trademarked but Marks feels the West Country of England is being ignored.

"With my West Country roots I've noted the possibility of Welsh Fire," Marks, 63, told BBC Sport.

"I've also noted the cast-iron certainty that this will not greatly excite people in Bristol or Taunton."

The eight city-based franchises, fielding both men's and women's teams, are expected to have a budget of £1.2m each and will bid in a draft system to recruit squads of 15, with players divided into salary bands.

The draft - which will include overseas players - will be held on 20 October and the competition will take place over a five-week period from July 2020, with some matches televised live on the BBC.

Marks believes that the Welsh Fire may not attract supporters from counties other than Glamorgan.

"As far as the spectators are concerned, I think they do feel a bit alienated in the West Country of England," he said. "What they really enjoy is watching those guys play for Somerset at Taunton.

"Maybe it will catch fire in south Wales, I don't know, but I just have this feeling that you will not find any spectators crossing the bridge to watch Welsh Fire playing in Cardiff."

Marks, who played in six Tests and 34 one day internationals for England, says that while the new competition could be a hard sell to some county supporters, it will be attractive to the players.

Former England all-rounder Vic Marks played most of his first class cricket for Somerset
Former England all-rounder Vic Marks played most of his first class cricket for Somerset

As well as Welsh Fire, Stobbs IP - a company specialising in branding - has applied to trademark five other names which are London Spirit, Southern Brave, Leeds Superchargers, Birmingham Phoenix and Trent Rockets.

London Spirit is thought to apply to the franchise that will be based at Lord's.

Names mooted for the team that will play at the Oval were London Fuse, London Rebels, London Union and London X, but all four were rejected by Surrey and Kent, who are coming together for next year's tournament.

The two counties are understood to be holding out for an identity that is not based on London, meaning teams based at the Oval and Old Trafford are still without names.

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