Expanded women’s fixture list at heart of 2023 English domestic schedule

Expanded women's fixture list at heart of 2023 English domestic schedule

The 2023 programme of domestic cricket in England will feature an expanded Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and regular T20 double-headers involving men’s and women’s teams in the Vitality Blast and Charlotte Edwards Cup.

With discussions about the future of the county schedule ongoing, there will be no changes to the LV= Insurance Championship, which will begin on April 6 next year for a block of seven weeks. Five rounds of the men’s first-class competition will be played during June and July, before the start of the Hundred in August – as revealed by ESPNcricinfo – and the 50-over Royal London Cup.

Amid efforts to balance four men’s competitions in an Ashes summer, there will be a round of Championship games before the first Test against Australia, starting at Edgbaston on June 16.

While Andrew Strauss’ high-performance review had called for a six-team top division above two conferences, to be implemented from 2024, the ECB’s fixture release confirmed that next summer will see the continuation of promotion and relegation for two teams.

Despite widespread agreement that the 2022 schedule suited few of the interested parties, 2023 will look largely the same.

The Vitality Blast will begin with a men’s double-header at Edgbaston on May 20, as Birmingham host Yorkshire and Derbyshire take on Lancashire. The counties will each play 14 games, with Finals Day also at Edgbaston and the tournament once again concluding in mid-summer on July 15.

An expanded Charlotte Edwards Cup, with the eight regional teams playing each other in seven games – home or away – starts on May 18. Finals Day will be held at New Road on June 10 and, in a sign of increased synergy between the men’s and women’s games following the success of the Hundred, there will be 20 Blast-CEC double-headers held across 17 venues.

The 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint competition will begin on April 22 and sees a doubling of fixtures, the eight teams playing home and away for a total of 14 games.

As in previous years, men’s teams will warm up for the Royal London Cup with fixtures against the National Counties, and outgrounds will be a feature of the fixture list before the Trent Bridge final on September 16.

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