Glamorgan launch their Specsavers County Championship campaign with an away trip to local rivals Gloucestershire, while Essex will kick-off their defence of the Specsavers County Championship next April against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley –
The opening round of six matches, which begins six days later than in 2017 on Friday April 13, also includes away games for the two teams promoted from Division Two, with Worcestershire travelling to Hampshire and Nottinghamshire to Lancashire – while Jason Gillespie’s first competitive fixture on his return to county cricket as head coach of Sussex will be against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Royal London One-Day Cup
Notts Outlaws face another trip north when they begin their bid to retain the Royal London One-Day Cup on May 17 – against Lancashire Lightning at Emirates Old Trafford, meaning their head coach Peter Moores will also be returning to one of his former counties.
The group matches in the Royal London One-Day Cup will again be played in a block early in the season, with the 18 counties split into North and South Groups, and each playing eight matches between May 17 and June 7. The winners of each group will earn a home semi final, with their opponents determined by play-offs on June 14 between the teams finishing second and third.
The final will be played at Lord’s on Saturday June 30, clearing the way for the Kia Super League and T20 Blast to take centre stage in the domestic game for most of July and August – as announced yesterday.
Pink ball Championship matches return
The 2018 fixture list, which is released in full this morning, also features nine day-night Championship matches, involving each of the 18 counties, which will again be played with pink balls – although unlike in 2017, when all nine matches were played in a floodlit round in late June, next summer they will be spread over four rounds, with one game in July when Sussex play Glamorgan, and another in August when Surrey face Lancashire at the Kia Oval.
Key county dates
March 27-30: MCC Champion County match – MCC v Essex (Barbados).
April 1-3: First round of MCCU fixtures.
April 13-16: First round of Specsavers County Championship matches.
May 17 – June 7: Royal London One-Day Cup group matches
June 14: Royal London One-Day Cup Play-Offs
June 17., 18: Royal London One-Day Cup Semi Finals
June 30: Royal London One-Day Cup Final (Lord’s)
September 24-27: Specsavers County Championship final round
Day-Night Specsavers County Championship matches
June 20-23: Hampshire v Yorkshire, Northamptonshire v Gloucestershire
June 25-28: Derbyshire v Leicestershire, Durham v Warwickshire, Essex v Somerset, Kent v Middlesex, Nottinghamshire v Worcestershire.
July 22-25: Sussex v Glamorgan
August 19-22: Surrey v Lancashire
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