Friends Provident Trophy launched
The England and Wales Cricket Board has released the final details of the Friends Provident Trophy.
At a launch held on Tuesday at Lord's Cricket Ground, ECB chief executive David Collier officially launched the 2007 Trophy alongside players from every county and Scotland.
The Friends Provident Trophy will be played in the first half of the season, with matches commencing on April 22.
Most games will be played over weekends or on bank holidays to maximise attendance.
The northern and southern conferences remain for the 2007 season but, as a new addition, semi-finals have been introduced on Wednesday, June 20.
Top of the northern conference will play second in the southern conference and vice-versa, with the team finishing top taking home advantage. The final, as ever, will be held at Lord's on Saturday, August 18.
The 2007 tournament sees counties using their nicknames and continuing to play in coloured kit with a white ball.
Ireland and Scotland will also take part, giving an international flavour to the Trophy, with Scotland playing in the northern conference and Ireland in the southern.
Sky Sports will televise live at least seven games from this year's Trophy, including the final.
The Friends Provident Trophy is closely aligned with the international one-day format, being the only domestic 50-over competition.
The tournament is a fantastic arena for youngsters to showcase their talent and for future England stars to gain experience.
Another addition to the 2007 competition is the introduction of a themed round. This year family will be the theme and it will take place over the May bank holiday weekend on May 6 and 7.
Counties are encouraged to promote ticket giveaways and put on various initiatives surrounding their individual fixtures.
An expert awards panel will run alongside the Friends Provident Trophy. The panel will be composed of England chairman of selectors David Graveney, Peter Moores national academy director, former England player Nick Knight and Friends Provident representative Simon Clamp.
The panel will provide two players to watch throughout the tournament and will attend various games to keep abreast of the competition. They will select a player of each conference and a Friends Provident Player of the Trophy at the final.
Throughout the competition the ECB will trial a new playing condition, that of the referral of decisions by players.
The captain of the fielding side and the batsman involved in the dismissal can refer to the third umpire for the final decision.
Each team is allowed two unsuccessful referrals per innings. All modes of dismissal, apart from 'timed out' can be referred and all referrals must be made immediately.
The TV umpire will reverse a decision if it is beyond reasonable doubt that the on field umpire has made a clear and obvious mistake.