How to get the better of someone who thinks he knows everything about cricket! Ask him how many counties there are in the County Championship.
The County Championship is the cornerstone of County Cricket and the most prestigious competition in which the 18 first-class counties take part.
Inaugurated in 1890, the first official Championship was contested between just 8 counties: Gloucestershire, Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire, the first championship going to Surrey. Somerset was admitted the following season, followed by Derbyshire, Essex, Hampshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 1895. Worcestershire was admitted in 1899, Northamptonshire in 1905 and Glamorgan - the current champions - in 1921. Durham, the newcomers, were admitted in 1992.
Radical changes are planned for the new millenium. In a move to introduce a greater element of competition into the game, the 18 first-class counties will be split into two divisions of nine teams each, based on this season's performance in the championship.
(Source Essex County Cricket Club http://www.essexcricket.org.uk/)