Essex to travel to Barbados for MCC’s Champion County Match

1000x500_barbados 

Barbados will host a festival of English cricket next spring, with both the North-South Series and the MCC’s Champion County Match against Essex to break new ground in the Caribbean.

The North-South Series, which was launched in Dubai and Abu Dhabi earlier this year as part of England’s preparations for hosting the 2019 World Cup, will feature two matches at Bridgetown’s famous Kensington Oval on March 18 and 21, followed by a third at the Three Ws Oval on March 23.

Then attention will return to the Kensington Oval for the first-class, four-day fixture between an MCC XI and Essex, the 2017 County Champions, from March 27-30 – which will be a day-night fixture played with pink Dukes balls.

The fixtures have been welcomed by one of the greatest Barbados cricketers, Sir Garfield Sobers – who was also delighted that the announcement was made to coincide with the second Royal London One-Day International between England and West Indies at Trent Bridge, his home county ground with Nottinghamshire.

“Barbados is honoured to have been chosen to stage the ECB North-South Series and MCC Champion County Match for the very first time next year,” said Sobers.

“We have been home to numerous prestigious cricket events and this will once again be the case as we welcome the players to our lovely shores. We look forward to hosting them, and trust that it will be an intense and high-quality showing of the game.”

John Stephenson, the MCC’s Head of Cricket, said: “MCC is delighted to be hosting the Champion County Match in Barbados next year, and continuing the Club’s collaboration with the ECB.

“It has been a long-stated aim of the MCC World Cricket committee to help to reinvigorate Test cricket in areas of the world where attendances are dwindling, and MCC believe that playing a four-day pink-ball first-class match in Barbados can help to do that.

“The Club also hopes it will provide a platform for the iconic Kensington Oval to go on to potentially host a day/night Test Match in the near future.

“The pink-ball Champion County Match utilises players from ECB’s North-South Series and gives current and future England players valuable exposure to day/night cricket in the longer format. MCC is pleased to play its part in helping the ECB and looks forward to welcoming Essex for this fixture next year.