ECB Domestic Fixtures 2020 –County Championship , Royal London Cup, Hundred & Vitality Blast
Fixtures for the County Championship, Royal London Cup, The Hundred and Vitality Blast have been announced
• The County Championship season begins on Easter Sunday with Essex starting their title defence at home to Yorkshire on 19 April.
• The opening 12 rounds of the County Championship to be played on at least one weekend day.
• The first men’s The Hundred match will be played between Oval Invincibles and Welsh Fire at the Kia Oval on 17 July. Five days later Birmingham Phoenix host the first women’s match against Manchester Originals at Blackfinch New Road.
• The Vitality Blast features more matches on Thursday and Friday nights, and on weekends, with a London derby to begin the competition on 28 May.
• Somerset start their Royal London Cup title defence against Warwickshire on 20 July.
The first round of the County Championship kicks off on Easter Sunday with Division Two champions Lancashire hosting Kent at Emirates Old Trafford. One of the other promoted sides Gloucestershire travel to Yorkshire while last year’s runners up Somerset welcome Warwickshire to The Cooper Associates County Ground. Nottinghamshire start life in Division Two at home to local rivals Leicestershire.
Essex kick off the defence of their County Championship crown the following week as they host Yorkshire on 19 April. A West Country red-ball rivalry is reborn on 1 May as Gloucestershire play Somerset in the County Championship for the first time in 13 years. All the first 12 rounds of the County Championship take place on at least one weekend day.
The County Championship ends with a round of games starting 22 September with Essex traveling to Warwickshire and Somerset facing Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl – a rematch of a crucial game in last year’s title race.
The Vitality Blast kicks off with a bang on 28 May with the London derby at the Kia Oval as Surrey host Middlesex. Defending champions Essex are at home the following day as they take on Glamorgan at the Cloudfm County Ground.
Emerald Headingley will host the first Roses Blast game as Yorkshire play Lancashire on 4 June.
The group stages wrap up on 12 July with a host of action-packed games including Essex vs Hampshire, Kent vs Middlesex and last year’s beaten finalists Worcestershire hosting Lancashire at Blackfinch New Road.
The quarter finals will take place between 18-21 August with Edgbaston again hosting Finals Day on 5 September.
The Hundred kicks off with the men’s competition at the Kia Oval, as Oval Invincibles welcome Welsh Fire for the Friday evening opening game. The following day Manchester Originals take on their northern rivals Northern Superchargers at Emirates Old Trafford.
The Hundred women’s competition begins on 22 July at Blackfinch New Road where Birmingham Phoenix host Manchester Originals. The day after, Lord’s will host the first double header of the competition, with both the men’s and women’s Northern Superchargers heading down to the capital to take on London Spirit’s teams.
Across the men’s and women’s competitions, The Hundred will be played in all 18 First-Class Counties.
All teams will be eyeing the 14 and 15 August, when the women’s and men’s finals days will be taking place respectively. Venues for both finals will be announced shortly.
The Royal London Cup begins on 19 July with last year’s finalists Hampshire to meet Worcestershire at the Ageas Bowl while Scarborough hosts a gripping fixture on the opening day as Nottinghamshire travel north to take on Yorkshire.
Somerset begin their title defence a day later away to Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Whoever makes the last two will be part of history, with Trent Bridge hosting the final for the first time, on 19 September. The two quarter finals are due to take place on 13 August with the semi-finals on 16 August.
This summer the National Counties will take on First-Class opposition in 50-over warm-up matches for the Royal London Cup. Highlights include Cornwall taking on Somerset at Truro while last year’s double champions Berkshire take on Middlesex at Falkland Cricket Club.
The structure of the 2020 season follows the changes unanimously accepted by the 18 First-Class Counties to the men's domestic structure from 2020 onwards. These proposals put together by the Men’s Domestic Playing Programme group (MDDP) focused on three key principles: supporting sustained success for England teams, maintaining a vibrant domestic game and recognising the importance of red-ball cricket.
Gordon Hollins, MD of County Cricket said, “2020 promises to be another incredible season of domestic cricket and the fact that Vitality Blast Finals Day has sold out in record time underlines the ongoing interest in our domestic game. Alongside The Hundred, there are opportunities for every cricket fan to watch and enjoy cricket next summer.”
Rob Hillman, Head of Operations – The Hundred, said: “We are delighted to announce the fixtures for the first season of The Hundred. It promises to be an action-packed month of high-quality cricket across both the men’s and women’s competitions and we look forward to the opening fixtures at Kia Oval and Blackfinch New Road respectively.”
©Cricket World 2019