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The 2017 domestic fixture list has received a positive reaction from all at Warwickshire County Cricket Club as preparations continue at Edgbaston for the new season.

The 2017 fixture list sees Edgbaston’s 39 days of domestic cricket scheduled in a block format, including seven Specsavers County Championship, four Royal London One-Day Cup group games and seven NatWest T20 Blast group games.

“Playing the three forms of the game in distinct blocks will hopefully make each of the competitions much easier for our members and supporters to follow,” said Warwickshire CCC Chief Executive Neil Snowball. “It also assists the players who can train and prepare for the set form of the game as opposed to the numerous switches that we’ve seen between formats in previous seasons.”

The schedule includes Warwickshire’s inaugural day/night First Class fixture, with the Bears entertaining Lancashire in the Specsavers County Championship – played with a pink Dukes ball – at Edgbaston from Monday 26 June.
“We’re really pleased to be one of the nine teams who will have a home day/night match in the County Championship,” Snowball added.

“We love Championship cricket here at Edgbaston and the day/night format is a very interesting development. We are always keen to try to make the game more accessible to supporters who could watch Cricket after work and the initial reaction to the first ever day/night Investec Test match in England has certainly been encouraging, with year-on-year sales up by over 60 per cent.

“I would also like to assure our members and supporters that this is not a road towards playing all Championship cricket under floodlights. It’s something that we and the ECB were keen to try and hopefully will help us to develop the game and attract a new audience.

“It’s also essential for players, officials, ground staff and our delivery team to gain experience of these conditions to be able to provide another great Test match experience at Edgbaston in August.”

Warwickshire begin their defence of the Royal London One-Day Cup on 27 April away to Northants Steelbacks, before returning to Edgbaston on Bank Holiday Monday, 1 May, to face Durham Jets.

The earlier start to the group games also ensures that the competition will have the traditional Lord’s Final brought forward to Saturday 1 July.

“Starting the Royal London One-Day Cup earlier in the season gives the England team ideal preparation for the ICC Champions Trophy, which we host along with the Kia Oval and Swalec Stadium in June,” added Snowball.

“Everyone at Edgbaston is very excited to be playing such a major part in one of the world’s biggest tournaments. However, the one downside is having to delay plans for any home matches to be scheduled away from Edgbaston until at least 2018.

“I’m a big fan of out ground Cricket and the club has had great experiences with Rugby School in recent years, and we certainly want to look at returning for a Royal London One-Day Cup game in the future. Sadly it is operationally impossible for the club move a home game away from Edgbaston this year, whilst continuing to prepare for our biggest ever programme of major match cricket.”

Birmingham Bears NatWest T20 Blast North group campaign begins away to local rivals Worcestershire Rapids on Friday 8 July, where the Norman Gifford Trophy will be up for grabs. They return to Edgbaston the following day for the team’s first ever Saturday night match against Notts Outlaws.

The group games at Edgbaston all fall across weekends, with three Friday nights, three Sunday afternoons and the one Saturday night match.

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