Warwickshire CCC Captain Will Rhodes admits the season feel a 'little closer' after the fixtures for the season ahead were released.

The Bears will start the defence of their County Championship title with home games against Surrey (7th April) and Essex (21st April) before finishing the campaign at Edgbaston against Hampshire (26th September).

“You always want to start the season and finish the season at home so to have those two is fantastic,” said Rhodes.

“Surrey are proven champions the last couple of years, and although they might not have been at their best recently, they had a really strong side in 2018 and dominated the league. It’ll be great to have them back and we had some great battles in 2019, so we’re looking forward to them.

“Essex are a fantastic team and they’ve probably been the best red ball team in the country these past four or five years. It’ll be a test, but we obviously played well against them last year and Rob Yates’ hundred was a highlight of that game. Two huge games, but in Division One there are no easy games.”

The fixture release is always exciting for players, staff and fans alike. The opportunity to plan out the summer at cricket grounds across the country means the warm weather and sound of bat on ball inches closer.

“It’s a very exciting day for the players and staff and it’s a long time coming,” added Rhodes. “I guess it brings the season a little bit closer and you can start marking the ones you really want to play in.

“For me personally, to go to Headingley is always fantastic and for Tim Bresnan and Olly Hannon-Dalby that’ll be one they look at. Liam Norwell and Craig Miles look at Gloucestershire fixtures and anyone who comes from a club in the same division you start to look at those games. 

“It’s going to be a difficult season and we know that. No-one is just going to give us the Championship again so we’re going to have to work hard.”

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