ECB announces 2009 county fixtures
The ECB today announced the fixtures for the 2009 county season, with the curtain raising on Thursday April 9 and closing for a final time on the NatWest Pro40 on Sunday September 27 in what promises to be a great exhibition of cricket.
LV County Champions Durham will officially open the season with the traditional match against the MCC at Lord’s on Thursday April 9.
The first round of LV County Championship matches start on Wednesday April 15 with the last round scheduled to commence on Wednesday September 23.
The LV County Championship has reached a nail-biting last round conclusion for two successive seasons and the winning county in 2009 will bank a record £500,000 in combined prize money and county performance payment.
The Twenty20 Cup group stages take place either side of the ICC World Twenty20 and begin in half-term week on Monday May 25.
Twenty20 Cup holders Middlesex Crusaders begin their defence against local rivals Surrey Brown Caps at Lord’s. Finals day will be at Edgbaston on Saturday August 15.
In all there are five weeks of Twenty20 action in England and Wales, including the ICC World Twenty20 in June, which sees the world’s greatest men and women’s players at venues across the country.
The Friends Provident Trophy group matches will be played in the first half of the season, culminating in an earlier final at Lord’s on Saturday July 25.
Essex Eagles begin their defence against Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Chelmsford in the opening round of FPT matches on Sunday April 19.
In a format change from previous years, the group stage of the 2009 Friends Provident Trophy sees the 20 teams drawn into four groups. The draw, completed in October, is as follows:
Group A: Ireland, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Leicestershire
Group B: Scotland, Warwickshire, Kent, Somerset, Middlesex
Group C: Surrey, Durham, Gloucestershire, Yorkshire, Sussex
Group D: Essex, Glamorgan, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire
Sides will play the other four in their group home and away, a total of eight group matches each. The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout quarter-final stage.
For the NatWest Pro40, 2009 will be its final year and kicks off with holders Sussex Sharks visiting the Essex Eagles on Monday July 13. The team that wins the NatWest Pro40 will keep the trophy.
Warwickshire are hosting an England XI for a three-day game from July 1-3 to assist with the England team’s preparation for the Ashes.
The opposition for the Stanford Quadrangular Series is yet to be confirmed but May 28, 29 and 30 have been set aside for these fixtures. The ECB will confirm the venue and opposition as soon as possible.