Greg discusses Second XI fixtures

The Somerset Second XI fixture list was finalised recently and it shows that we get our season up and running with a two-day friendly against Worcestershire at Taunton Vale Sports Club on Wednesday April 1st.

Looking at the fixture list, Second XI Coach, Greg Kennis said: “The dates and venues for this season have now been finalized and there is a very different shape to previous seasons.

“This year’s fixtures show two main changes. The first is that the length of all Second XI Championship matches has been increased from three to four days, and the other is the disappearance of the 50-over competition.

“To compensate for this we have arranged some 50-over friendly matches that lead into the Royal London Cup in order to give the players in the Second XI an opportunity to get some performances on the board to push themselves forward for selection in the Royal London Cup. The T20 remains this season, but again it has a slightly different look in that it mirrors the First XI and takes place in a block.

“We start the season almost as soon as we get back from Abu Dhabi with a two-day and a three-day friendly to try and get as much competitive cricket in before we head into the early championship fixtures.

“We then have a week of practice that leads into a three week T20 block, which crosses over with the early stages of the Vitality Blast.

“Due to the success that Somerset have enjoyed in white-ball cricket, many players have been picked up for various teams in The Hundred. As a result of this we haven’t arranged any Second XI cricket during the period that The Hundred is on to allow everyone to fully prepare in our defence of the Royal London Cup.

“Despite being without a number of players, the squad to select from still looks extremely strong and exciting and there remains a large amount of experience within the group.

“In addition to this I’m sure there will be one or two of the younger players competing fiercely for a place who will be trying to make their mark in the 50-over friendly games.”

After the Royal London Cup the Second XI revert to championship cricket for the remainder of the season.

Regarding the longer format, Greg said: “With Second XI Championship cricket now going to four days, it will bring with it some extra challenges. The batters will have the chance to bat for longer, put larger numbers together and get the opportunity to really dominate a game. Bowlers may have their skills challenged by having to come back the next morning having spent the previous day in the field. Overall, it’s an opportunity to show off their skills for longer which is something that they will need to do if they are to force their way into First XI cricket.”

He added: “There are definitely more exciting times ahead and I’m looking forward to some of the young players making some headlines for themselves.”