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Re: Season 2020
Posted by: Supporting Middlesex since 1999
Date: 26/11/2019 19:03
Since I began following cricket, it seemed like there were too many instances of County Championship matches beginning on Mondays or Tuesdays to give no weekend play, or of Championship matches beginning on Wednesdays to make it uncertain whether matches would have any meaningful weekend play. Therefore, it is great to see Middlesex are scheduled to play plenty of days of Championship cricket in 2020 not only on weekends, but also on bank holidays (we are scheduled to play on Easter Monday, VE Day and Whit Monday, with all of those days being at Lord’s). I can’t remember so much Championship cricket at weekends!

I imagine that a lot of supporters will be glad to see that we will play all but one home Championship match and all but two home Twenty20 group matches at Lord’s (although those only interested in the Championship will argue that we will play no matches in that competition at Lord’s between late-May and early-September). However, I am not too pleased about us playing all of our home group matches in the 50-over competition (which Royal London appear to still be sponsoring) at Radlett, although I will probably aim to attend the two matches on a Sunday. Despite it initially looking likely that none of the matches would take place at venues used for The Hundred, we were told at the post-season forum that Middlesex were hopeful of playing one match at Lord’s. A quick glance at other counties’ fixtures in this competition shows that some matches will take place at Test grounds (with I think some Test grounds staging more than one 50-over match), but clearly our attempts to play a match at Lord’s have been unsuccessful.

I am surprised that the 50-over competition will no longer be played on a regional basis. Thankfully for anyone who intends to go to most or all of our matches, the abandonment of the regional structure appears not to result in excessive travel around England and Wales, except perhaps the eight-day period when we play at Radlett, Hove, Worcester and Chelmsford. It helps that we have two lots of instances of playing two matches at Radlett in the space of three days. However, I cannot comment on whether the other counties have got away lightly in terms of travel.

Where our travel does seem excessive is that we will play in the Falkland Islands and in Radlett on successive days.

Something that will disappoint various groups of people is the continual (but expected) lack of Championship matches in July and August. Our Championship campaign will not resume until 29th August, but there is actually a round of matches the previous week in which every county other than ourselves and Leicestershire have a match.

Another aspect of the fixturelist which may not enamour those involved with the players will be the fact that we will play three Championship matches during our Twenty20 campaign, which means that the players will be switching between formats.

Over the last few years, our Twenty20 fixturelist has always included just one match against each of Kent and Glamorgan, and two matches against our six other opponents. However, in 2020 the two teams we will face only once will be Somerset and Sussex.

Once again, Surrey have requested that those who wish to attend the derby Twenty20 match at The Oval on Thursday 28th May enter a ballot.

Nathan Sowter has spoken to The Cricketer about his career ambitions.

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