Roses match heading back to Scarborough Cricket Club in 2021
Yorkshire CCC chief executive Mark Arthur believes that the club had a duty to its members and also to Scarborough Cricket Club to take Roses cricket back to North Marine Road.
Yorkshire and Lancashire will meet there in a County Championship match next summer after the first raft of fixtures were announced for 2021.
The Roses rivals had been due to play there last summer only for coronavirus to prevent their first Championship meeting at the venue since 1991.
But the England and Wales Cricket Board has bowed to the clubs’ request to try again next year in a prime high-summer slot, with the four-day fixture beginning on Sunday July 11.
Arthur said: “We felt that we had a responsibility to take the game back to Scarborough and also to the supporters of both Yorkshire and Lancashire, because so many people had pre-booked for 2020 and had been looking forward to the game.
“It will now be the first County Championship Roses match at Scarborough for 30 years, and there’s going to be a lot of interest from our own supporters, along with a lot of people making the pilgrimage from across the Pennines.
“I think there will be a terrific atmosphere, and whereas in the past it’s been felt that you would get more people from Lancashire supporting a game at Headingley because it’s closer, we’ve tested the marketplace and certainly the response we had for 2020 was amazing.
“Normally we would hope to attract 5,000 for the first couple of days of a Championship match at Scarborough, but because it’s Lancashire, and because there was no cricket at Scarborough last year and the game starts on a Sunday, I wouldn’t mind betting that that’s nearer 7,000 for the first couple of days.”
Amid heightened optimism that crowds will be back in force next year, with the ECB echoing Arthur’s optimism in that regard, the Roses game promises to be extra special.
It comes in the final round of the new-look Championship group stage and is therefore a potentially key contest, with the tournament then taking a break for white-ball action.
For next year only as things stand, the 18 counties will be in three seeded groups of six based on a hybrid of their finishing position in the 2019 Championship, their performance in last summer’s Bob Willis Trophy, and with an element of local derby flexibility thrown in.
Yorkshire are in Group Three along with Glamorgan, Kent, Lancashire, Northamptonshire and Sussex. Each team plays the other home and away (10 games).
After the white-ball tournaments, the fixtures for which will be announced early next year along with the women’s matches, the counties go into three new divisions of six based on their finishing positions in the group stage.
The top two teams from each group go into Division One, the third and fourth-placed teams into Division Two, and the fifth and sixth-placed teams into Division Three. Counties then play a further four matches (one each against the respective teams from the other groups, avoiding their group stage opponents). One of Yorkshire’s divisional matches will also be at Scarborough.
The winners of Division One will be county champions and they will also play off against the Division One runners-up in a five-day final at Lord’s from September 27 for the Bob Willis Trophy.
Yorkshire will start their attempt to win the Championship with a match against Glamorgan at Emerald Headingley from April 8. It will be the first Championship meeting between them at Headingley since 2012, when Yorkshire won promotion from the old Second Division, while the return fixture at Cardiff from May 13 will be Yorkshire’s first Championship match in the Welsh capital since 1998.
Although Yorkshire and Glamorgan have met four times in Championship cricket in Wales since then, those contests were at Swansea (2001) and at Colwyn Bay (2003, 2004 and 2012). The last two matches at Colwyn Bay were ruined by the weather.
Yorkshire will be making their first visit to Hove for a Championship fixture for six years when they take on Sussex from April 22 – one week after another long trek to Canterbury for their first away game of the season against Kent. The reverse Roses match starts at Old Trafford from May 27, while Yorkshire hope to play two university fixtures prior to their Championship opener.
“I think the fixtures are as good as we could have hoped for,” said Arthur. “We’ve got six days of Championship cricket at Emerald Headingley in April, six in May, and four in June. Then we’ve got Scarborough in July.
“The ECB do a terrific job with regards to fixtures; it’s not easy because everybody is making their individual requests. However, they recognise that Scarborough is a special case because of the incredibly large crowds that it draws, which can only be good for the game as a whole.”
YCCC’s 2021 Championship group fixtures
Thursday April 8 to Sunday April 11 v GLAMORGAN AT EMERALD HEADINGLEY
Thursday April 15 to Sunday April 18 v Kent at Canterbury
Thursday April 22 to Sunday April 25 v Sussex at Hove
Thursday April 29 to Sunday May 2 v NORTHAMPTONSHIRE AT EMERALD HEADINGLEY
Thursday May 6 to Sunday May 9 v KENT AT EMERALD HEADINGLEY
Thursday May 13 to Sunday May 16 v Glamorgan at Cardiff
Thursday May 27 to Sunday May 30 v Lancashire at Old Trafford
Thursday June 3 to Sunday June 6 v SUSSEX AT EMERALD HEADINGLEY
Sunday July 4 to Wednesday July 7 v Northamptonshire at Northampton
Sunday July 11 to Wednesday July 14 v LANCASHIRE AT SCARBOROUGH
The four divisional rounds will take place on:
Aug 30-Sep 2
Sep 5-Sep 8
Sep 12-Sep 15
Sep 21-Sep 24
The Bob Willis Trophy will be contested by the Division One winners and runners-up over five days from September 27.