Yorkshire face tough start in defence of their county title

Martyn Moxon. PIC: SWPIX.COM

Martyn Moxon. PIC: SWPIX.COM

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Champions Yorkshire will travel to promoted Worcestershire in the opening round of the 2015 County Championship on April 12 to start the defence of their title.

In a tough opening, matches follow against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and Warwickshire at Headingley, while Jason Gillespie’s side will launch the county season on March 22 when they play an MCC XI in Abu Dhabi in the traditional four-day curtain-raiser.

The white rose county will play two championship matches in Scarborough, against newly-promoted Worcestershire on July 19 and against Durham on August 7 and the season concludes with a clash against Sussex at Headingley on September 22.

Yorkshire could be without seven key players for the championship opener against Worcestershire due to suspension and England call-ups for the tour to West Indies in April/May, and six players for the following games against Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire.

Captain Andrew Gale is banned for the match at Worcestershire – and the preceding Champion County fixture against MCC – following his verbal altercation with Lancashire’s Ashwell Prince at the end of last summer and director of pro cricket Martyn Moxon said: “It’s important that we get off to a good start if we’re going to back-up what we did last year and it won’t be easy by any means.

“Worcester away, first game of the season, will be tough as they’re going to be up for it and they’re going to be fresh.

“Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge is never easy and Warwickshire at home won’t be either as they finished second in the table last summer.

“At the same time, the facts are the facts and there’s no point moaning.

“If we do have that number of players in the West Indies then, who knows, it might give a young player an opportunity like Jack Leaning last year, a player who came in and took his chance and went on to become an established member of the team.

“I think we have to look at it as an opportunity for other players as opposed to all doom and gloom that we’re going to have several players potentially missing.

“The way the fixtures are it would be a challenging start to any season, but we’re the champions and our challenge is to show why we’re champions and try to repeat it.”

Lancashire’s relegation means the only Roses clashes of the summer will take place in the T20 Blast, unless Lancashire and Yorkshire progress beyond the group stage of the One-Day Cup and are then drawn to face each other.

Yorkshire will host the first T20 Roses fixture at Headingley on June 5, with the return game on July 3.

Trophy holders Birmingham Bears, who beat Lancashire by four runs in the 2014 final, meet Notts at Trent Bridge in their opening game on May 15, with the two nine-team groups unchanged from 2014.

The final round of group games takes place on Friday, July 24, with the quarter-finals taking place from August 12-15.

Edgbaston will play host to finals day for the seventh time on Saturday, August, 29.

The One-Day Cup final at Lord’s, which Durham won with victory over Warwickshire will take place on September 19.

The final comes before the last round of Championship fixtures, starting on September 22.

Cricket commentator Henry Blofeld proudly holds his OBE back in 2003. Blofeld will retire from his role as commentator on the BBC Radio 4's Test Match Special programme in September.

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