Kent to start new season away
Kent to start new season away

Kent will begin the 2021 County Championship season on Thursday 8th April with a trip to face Northamptonshire.

After a seriously disrupted 2020 campaign that saw a shortened summer, Matt Walker’s side will be hoping for a full fixture list next year and they now know who they will be facing for the following six months after the curtain raiser.

Following the game at Northamptonshire, Kent will face Yorkshire at Canterbury from Thursday 15th April in Group 3 of the remodelled Championship structure.

The First-Class Counties agreed in October to reshape the Men’s County Championship structure for next summer only to help mitigate against the possible impact of COVID-19.

Each First-Class County has initially been placed into one of three seeded groups of six and has been scheduled to play five home matches and five away matches during the Group Stage.

The opening nine rounds of Group Stage matches are to be played on consecutive weeks and all are due to begin on a Thursday with a scheduled Sunday finish.

The Group Stage will conclude in July with the Round 10 and 11 matches to begin on a Sunday. All the First-Class Counties will play in the final round of Group Stage fixtures.

The top two counties in each group, at the end of the Group Stage, will progress to Division One, with the other counties moving into Divisions Two and Three, where they will each play a further four matches.

The winner of Division One will be crowned the 2021 County Championship winners.

The opening round of Divisional Stage matches will begin on the Bank Holiday Monday 30 August.

The five-day Bob Willis Trophy final will be played between the top two counties in Division One and is scheduled to start on Tuesday 27 September.

ECB Managing Director County Cricket, Neil Snowball, said: “We’re all looking forward to the return of the County Championship in 2021 after a very challenging year in 2020.

“Despite the significant hurdles that we faced this year, the domestic game still found a way to play meaningful cricket across men’s and women’s formats while ensuring that our members and supporters were able to remain close to the game through advanced live streaming of matches.

“Once again we have seen an innovative and collaborative approach between the ECB and the 18 First Class Counties that has 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.

“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.”

Fixtures for the remaining domestic women’s and men’s white-ball competitions are set to be announced in early 2021.

All venues, home and away, are still subject to review once the full fixture list, including the Royal London Cup and Vitality Blast, is published in January. This includes whether 2021 will see a return of festival cricket at Tunbridge Wells that had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both The Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells and The County Ground, Beckenham remain in Kent Cricket’s long term plans but the Club will need to consider the feasibility of hosting matches away from Canterbury in 2021 based on an assessment of Government restrictions on ground capacity and medical protocol.

ALL Kent home matches that are not televised on Sky Sports will be shown via Kent’s enhanced live streaming service that was well received during the 2020 season.

Kent Spitfires will also take on Sri Lanka in a one-day floodlit tour match at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence on Friday 18th June. It will be the seventh meeting between the two sides, after Sri Lanka’s win in a one-day match at Canterbury in 2014.

Entry to Kent Spitfires vs. Sri Lanka will be FREE for ALL Kent Members*, subject to COVID and ticketing restrictions. More information will be published nearer the time once capacity for spectators is confirmed. This match will be eligible to select as one day of cricket for Six Pack Season Ticket holders.

Kent’s Director of Cricket, Paul Downton, said: “Revealing next year’s fixtures is an exciting part of our Winter and preparations can now begin for what will hopefully be a successful 2021 season.

“After a truncated 2020, we’re all looking forward to a more structured 2021 – especially with the return of the County Championship. We have two huge home matches early in the season with the visits of ‘northern powerhouses’ Yorkshire and Lancashire.

“All of the players, coaches and support staff hope that with the continued improvement in the COVID-19 crisis, we will be able to welcome our much valued Members and supporters back to Kent home matches this coming season.”

KENT’S 2021 COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURES

Northamptonshire v Kent – Thu 8th – Sun 11th April – The County Ground

Kent v Yorkshire – Thu 15th – Sun 18th April – Canterbury

Kent v Lancashire – Thu 22nd – Sun 25th April – Canterbury

Glamorgan v Kent – Thu 29th April – Sun 2nd May – Sophia Gardens

Yorkshire v Kent – Thu 6th – Sun 9th May – Emerald Headingley

Sussex v Kent – Thu 13th – Sun 16th May – The County Ground

Kent v Glamorgan – Thu 20th – Sun 23rd May – Canterbury

Kent v Northamptonshire – Thu 3rd – Sun 6th June – Canterbury

Lancashire v Kent – Sun 4th – Weds 7th July – Old Trafford

Kent v Sussex – Sun 11th – Weds 14th July – Beckenham

Division Stage dates

Round 1 Aug 30 – Sept 2

Round 2 Sept 5-8

Round 3 Sept 12-15

Round 4 Sept 21-24

Bob Willis Trophy Final Sept 27-Oct 1

For the full fixture list visit ecb.co.uk or receive the County Championship schedules direct to you with the ECB’s digital calendar via this link.

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