The Hundred: Has the new tournament been a success?

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The flamework smoke has drifted beyond the great Lord's pavilion.

Cricket has made its leap into a brave new realm. The neon pinks and greens will soon disappear.

The Hundred's first season is over. The focus shifts away from the newly formed teams in bright red, gold or bright red and instead focuses on the men's Tests and England's women.

It has not been easy. There are still issues. But Saturday's Hundred final at cricket's historic venue saw Oval Invincibles become the first women champions and Southern Brave take the first men title. This was the kind of event that suggests this new tournament is possible.

Lord's was packed with nearly 25,000 people. Sixty-six people sailed into the stands and cheered. This was not your typical Lord's Saturday crowd.

Children held signs made by their families, while parents sat next to each other among the louder 20-something crowd. As they first visited the ground, others took pictures of themselves outside.

Oval Invincibles defeated favourites Southern Brave in the Women's Hundred.

One accusation has been proven to be untrue by the 31-day-old crowds at the tournament. Someone does care. Many, if not millions, care.

It is believed that around 20% of spectators at the tournament were children. This is a significant increase on the Twenty20 Blast in recent times. Total 21% of all tickets sold were purchased by women.

These are both encouraging numbers for a tournament with its stripped down format and the break of new teams away form the norm. The tournament aims to bring cricket to an even wider audience.

The exposure of free-to air television has fueled impressive viewing figures. The record for the most viewers of a women's cricket match was broken by the 1.6 million who watched the opening night.

The figures for the women's games continue to surpass projections. Although the matches between men and women were not as dramatic as we expected, they are still better than what was predicted.

According to anecdotally at least, the tournament seems to be reaching people who are not interested in domestic cricket. There is talk of a surge in junior and adult participation as well, but this may be due to The Hundred's Dynamos programme by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

The withdrawals that were mostly Covid pandemic-related or bubble-related to the tournament had a significant impact on the field. However, the tournament hasn't missed any global superstars since its inception.

The action on the field was great, despite a few disappointments.

There are new names emerging - Think Will Smeed or Lauren Bell, or Alice Capsey.

Southern Brave defeated Birmingham Phoenix in the men's Hundred final

If these big cricket stars play next year, it will only improve the quality of cricket.

Despite all the talk of numbers, the greatest success of the tournament was the boost it gave to the women's sport.

Women's cricket has never had such a platform in this country as it has in the last month.

The players put on a show and the crowd responded. 17,116 people attended the women's final, breaking the record for the largest domestic women's cricket match in the world.

Charlotte Edwards, England legend and Brave coach, said this week that "I have to pinch my self," It is quite normal that we are now playing domestic games in front 10,000 people.

"It has been the most amazing four weeks of my entire life watching these girls play cricket, seeing the fans, and seeing girls believe that cricket is cool."

In assessing the tournament's success, it is important to consider the impact of the women's game.

This does not mean that The Hundred is perfect.

Children accounted for around 20% of spectators at the tournament.

Crowds at the event were more rowdy than you'd want for a family event. Family stands and alcohol-free zones may become more prominent. It was sad to see the pitch invasions on the men's stage so often. It is also necessary to address the disparity between men and women in terms of pay.

The question is still open as to how The Hundred will fit into the English cricket calendar.

There is no simple answer. The new tournament takes over the top slot in the summer. However, the three existing ones - the County Championship and the One-Day Cup - are not stopping.

Because The Hundred is a club that aims to attract young cricket fans, it will not be changing its focus during school holidays.

Many would agree that England's Test team was not adequately prepared for the series against India due to the lack of four-day matches.

However, it is simplistic to blame The Hundred alone for England's pathetic defeat. England's top order was already collapsing long before the new tournament was even discussed.

However, it is worth trying to find a better compromise.

The Hundred, if it is successful, should be able compliment county cricket and not hinder it.

The recent TV rights deal has already helped bring in additional money. It is hoped that it will attract more people to the game and bring in additional funds.

The status quo prior to The Hundred was not good. Many counties were in financial trouble. The ECB chose to go extreme and must now abide by their promise that The Hundred will fund county cricket, not force it into submission.

It is too difficult to say whether English cricket's latest venture was a success or failure.

It is an isolated answer. The cricket has been outstanding, the women's game has been at the forefront, and a younger crowd has shown up.

It's difficult to predict what the future holds. It is possible that it will succeed. It's, after all, cricket, a sport that many people love.