CRICKET: Derby date at Edgbaston is first up for promoted Pears - The Evesham Observer

CRICKET: Derby date at Edgbaston is first up for promoted Pears

Evesham Editorial 23rd Nov, 2023   0

WORCESTERSHIRE will kick off the Division One campaign in the LV=Insurance County Championship with a derby against Warwickshire at Edgbaston starting Friday, April 5.

This mouth-watering clash marks the first four-day encounter between the two counties since the 2021 season when both Group One matches ended in enthralling draws.

Skipper Brett D’Oliveira (pictured) and his teammates will lock horns with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge before welcoming Durham to New Road for their opening home fixture on Friday, April 19. This fixture will be a rematch of the two sides’ promotion battle from Division Two last summer.

Worcestershire’s opening six Championship games will see them take to the road four times, including a trip to face the reigning champions, Surrey, at the Kia Oval from May 17.

Prepare for an action-packed start to the campaign, as Worcestershire will have played seven Championship matches by the end of May, with Friday start dates becoming the norm throughout the summer.

Following back-to-back Championship matches in late June-early July, the competition will conclude with a block of five matches from late August to the end of September.

Three matches will be played at New Road, including the eagerly awaited return derby against the Bears on September 9.

With a 10-team division, Worcestershire will face five teams home and away, missing out on home fixtures with Essex and Hampshire and away matches against Lancashire and Somerset to accommodate the 14 fixtures.

Head coach Alan Richardson is excited about the challenges ahead following their well-deserved top-two finish in Division Two this summer.

He said: “We put in an incredible amount of effort last season to secure promotion and put ourselves in this position.

“Now it’s time to embrace and enjoy the challenge that lies ahead. We’ll be facing some top players and teams who have been performing exceptionally well recently.

“This is an opportunity to test ourselves against them and measure our worth.

“We’re determined to achieve the best possible results and thrive in Division One.

“We’ll carefully analyse the fixtures, plot our course through the season, and determine the best strategies to achieve our goals.

“The schedule is similar to the past couple of years, with the occasional challenge of extensive travel or back-to-back matches.”

Worcestershire’s quest for further success will begin in the Vitality Blast, which runs in the group stages from late May until mid-July, with a block of four away games out of the first five fixtures.

The Rapids, who made it to the quarter-finals in 2023, will host their first T20 match against Lancashire Lightning on Friday, May 31.

The highly anticipated clash against Birmingham Bears at New Road is scheduled for Friday, June 21, with the return leg at Edgbaston on July 12.

Five of the Rapids’ seven home group fixtures will occur on Friday evenings or Sunday afternoons, with three of the final four matches played in front of their passionate supporters.

Next summer, the Rapids will unveil a completely revamped Metro Bank One Day Cup home schedule, with group fixtures in a three-week block from the end of July until the middle of August.

Members and supporters can look forward to the Rapids welcoming four different teams to New Road, a change from those who comprised their Group A program in the 2022 campaign.

They will host group newcomers Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, and Hampshire – the Rapids’ quarter-final opponents in August – and Durham, whom they faced at the Seat Unique Riverside this year.

The Rapids, who reached the quarter-finals last summer, will take on Middlesex (July 24) and Durham (July 28) in back-to-back home matches in their opening two fixtures of the 50-over competition.

Away from home, the Rapids’ schedule for the 50-over tournament has a more familiar look.

They will again travel to face Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Somerset plus Derbyshire, who were home opponents this summer.

However, Lancashire Lightning joins the fray as a new addition to Group A.

Visit for the full fixture list

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