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Kent Spitfires 2017 fixtures

By Alex Hoad

Kent’s quest to win promotion back to the top-flight of Championship cricket will begin with the visit of Gloucestershire on Friday, April 7.

The game at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, will follow the curtain-raiser First Class match against Leeds and Bradford MCCU, scheduled for Tuesday, March 28.

Kent will play 14 Specsavers Championship games against nine Division 2 opponents with blocks of red-ball action at the start and end of the season in April and September. The other six games will be played across May, June and early July.

Taking in the action at the Spitfire Ground. Picture: Ady Kerry
Taking in the action at the Spitfire Ground. Picture: Ady Kerry

It means Kent do not have home games against Worcestershire or Nottinghamshire next season while they will not have to travel to Northamptonshire or Glamorgan, who they host in their season finale on September 25.

After a controversial abandonment last April, Kent did avoid an early return to Worcestershire’s New Road, instead waiting until Monday, June 19, before heading down the M5.

Ten days earlier they host Durham, who were relegated from Division 1 last season as part of a series of penalties imposed after they accepted an ECB bail-out following financial problems and will be among Kent’s rivals for the two promotion spots.

Kent’s lone match at Tunbridge Wells is against Sussex from Friday, May 26, while they welcome Northamptonshire to Beckenham on Monday, July 3.

Three of Kent’s final four CC games are on the road in September, with return trips to Durham, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire on consecutive Tuesdays.

In white-ball cricket the Spitfires’ eight-game 50-over group stage will take place in one block from late April until mid-May with the quarter-finals, semis and final within a three week span.

The opening game is Hampshire’s trip to Canterbury on Thursday, April 27, with a trip to Somerset the following Tuesday and Sussex and Middlesex heading to the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, on Friday, May 5, and Sunday, May 7 respectively.

Their final group game is at home to Essex on Wednesday, May 17, with Kent seeking a place in the last-eight on Tuesday, June 13, with the semi-finals later the same week and the Final at Lord’s on Saturday, July 1.

The 2017 fixtures were released in stages on Thursday evening - first up was the revised T20 schedule which sees all the games taking place in a six-week block from mid-July with the knockout stages and finals day taking place over the following two weeks.

Kent Spitfires will begin next summer’s NatWest T20 Blast campaign with a game against Essex at Beckenham on Sunday, July 9.

After hosting their neighbours in the Battle of the Bridge, Kent are on the road at Cheltenham to face Gloucestershire four days later ahead of a clash with Surrey at the Oval the following night.

Their first match at Canterbury is on Tuesday, July 18, when Gloucestershire visit for a floodlit game but the Spitfires face trips to Middlesex and Sussex before they begin a spell of four home games out of five.

Somerset, Glamorgan, Sussex and Hampshire all head to Canterbury between July 27 and August 11 with a solitary trip to Hampshire on August 1 on the diary.

Unlike other teams Kent will revert to red-ball cricket during the T20 block as they host a three-day Tour match against the West Indies back at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence, from Sunday, August 6.

Away T20 games at Somerset and Essex precede the final South Group game against Surrey on Friday, August 18 - Kent’s third straight Friday night home game.

The Spitfires will be seeking a return to the quarter-finals, which will be held in consecutive days from Tuesday, August 22 until the Friday, with Finals Day set for Saturday, September 2, at Edgbaston.

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