Essex begin defence of County Championship title against Worcestershire

Essex begin defence of County Championship title against Worcestershire

The first-class season is scheduled to finish on October 1. Essex begin the defence of their County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy titles next year against Worcestershire at Chelmsford on April 8, when all first-class teams will be in action in a restructured campaign.

Uncertainty remains at what restrictions will be in place amid the coronavirus pandemic, so in 2021 the counties have been initially split into three seeded conferences of six, playing each side within their group home and away.

The opening nine rounds are scheduled to take place on consecutive weeks, with Thursday starts and Sunday finishes, and is set to conclude in July before groups are sorted into three performance-related divisions.

Essex won the 2019 County Championship (Steven Paston/PA)
Essex won the 2019 County Championship (Steven Paston/PA)

After another four matches, with opening-round scheduled to begin on August 30. A Bank Holiday Monday – table-toppers of Division One crowned county champions.

They then play runners-up in a showpiece Lord’s final for Bob Willis Trophy. Starting on September 27. If that fixture lasts all five days then the first-class season scheduled to finish on October 1.

“We’re all looking forward to the return of the County Championship in 2021 after a very challenging year in 2020,” said Neil Snowball, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s managing director for county cricket.

Cont.

“We have seen an innovative and collaborative approach between the ECB. And 18 first-class counties that have enabled us to plan. For 2021 with a new County Championship structure for 2021 only. That is designed to be both exciting for players and supporters. And also flexible to the possible ongoing impact of COVID-19.

Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy earlier this year (Steven Paston/PA)
Essex won the Bob Willis Trophy earlier this year (Steven Paston/PA)

“We are also working hard with all 18 first-class counties to ensure that we are able to welcome the return of crowds safely next year and will continue to work closely with Government and all relevant authorities.”

The established two-division championship, which won by Essex in 2019. Last year replaced by Bob Willis Trophy. After domestic season put on hold for four months because of COVID-19 crisis.

Comprising of three regional divisions and a five-day final at Lord’s, Essex again came out on top following a draw with Somerset, whose wait for a first-class title continues.

Somerset face an immediate return to the home of cricket to take on Middlesex in their opening fixture.

The men’s and women’s fixtures for domestic white-ball competitions set to announced early next year.

Group 1: Essex, Warwickshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Worcestershire, Durham

And Group 2: Somerset, Hampshire, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Middlesex, Leicestershire

And then Group 3: Kent, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Northamptonshire, Glamorgan, Sussex

Essex begin defence of County Championship title against Worcestershire

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Also then Read, Bob Willis Trophy and County Championship to co-exist in new structure

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