As the dark nights that dominate November lure us all onto the sofa with a cup of tea and the remote, a little light reading of next season’s fixtures should suffice very nicely as the blanket in this scenario.
The T20 fixtures prove to be a particularly warming read as they promise enticing meetings at Edgbaston as the reigning champions defend the title, floodlit matches at Headingley and London derbies to die for.
As per the 2014 season, fixtures will take place predominantly on Friday nights beginning with the first round of eight matches of Friday 15 May 2015.
Almost every match is set to be nail-biting as the competition runs concurrently with the County Championship through May, June and July but of course there are a couple of red letter matches that will draw a little more attention.
Those who enjoy a good Roses match will be rubbing their hands with glee as Yorkshire and Lancashire lock horns twice in the group stages – the first time on Friday 5th June at Headingley and then again on Friday 3rd July at Old Trafford.
After last year’s wash-out at Headingley, the Vikings will be hoping for some clear spring weather as well as a decisive win over their Northern rivals.
When it comes to derbies though, the London teams give the Northern men a run for their money and when 3rd July comes around Surrey will meet Middlesex at the Kia Oval for the first of their two head-to-heads. The second time they meet will be right at the end of the group stages on the 23rd July which may well mean that there could be more than just pride at stake.
There will not however be a double-header hosted by Middlesex or indeed any county this year.
The Birmingham Bears secured themselves the T20 title in 2014 and will have a task on their hands to keep that crown as they face Nottinghamshire first, Yorkshire last (in the group stages) and Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Northamptonshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Durham.
On the 26th June, the Bears will travel north to Old Trafford where they will have to face the team they beat to be crowned 2014 Champions. Now that’s a fixture to look out for if ever there was one!
As ever, the T20 excitement dies down for a few weeks after the 24th July when the final round of group matches is hosted around the country and the Royal London One-Day Cup takes over. This is only temporary though, the quarter-finals provide almost a week’s worth of entertainment as the four matches run on consecutive days from Wednesday 12th – Saturday 15th August and then 10 days later one of the biggest days of the summer – Finals Day.
Hosted at Edgbaston – coincidentally the home of the current Champions – Saturday 29th August will offer up three T20 matches and more excitement than you can shake an inflatable Natwest pig at.