"I am a Norfolk man and Glory in being so." Horatio Nelson

I.C.C Groups announced for 2017/18

The Inter-County Championship groups & fixture dates for the 2017/18 season have been announced by the ESMBA and Norfolk Premier will face Kent, Surrey & Essex in Group 2. Norfolk “A” will have the same opposition as they did this season, Suffolk, Essex “A” & Cambs, in Group 2 of their section. Norfolk’s opening fixture is a home double header against old rivals Essex on Sunday 17th September at Hingham Sports & Social Club, a weekend when sixteen I.C.C matches are set to be played across the country. With the popular SMPT Irish Open being played in Belfast on the same weekend some bowlers will be faced with a difficult choice. The Premier section again has five groups with Cheshire, North Yorks, West Midlands & Northants making up an interesting Group 1. Cheshire withdrew from this season’s Premier competition and early indications seemed to be that they would only field an “A” team next season but obviously that has changed. North Yorkshire have been moved back to the Premier section which will be no surprise considering the strength of their team. The vote at the AGM Open Forum to allow players to join counties outside their own could result in at least one of the Group 1 county teams seriously strengthening their side in 2017/18 if rumours are to be believed. Northants will face trips to North Yorkshire & Cheshire and early reports are that they are unhappy with the distances involved for their group matches. Group 3 comprises Somerset, Cornwall, Dorset & Devon and Group 4 is Oxfordshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Avon. Group 5 is made up of East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire & Wiltshire which gives a total of 20 teams in the Premier section. There will be 23 County teams, plus the Stockport Metro League, competing in the I.C.C “A” Team event giving a total of 24 teams playing in six groups, one less group than this season. Group 1 is Worcestershire, West Midlands. Shropshire & the Stockport Metro League, Group 2 Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire & Suffolk, Group 3 Somerset, Devon, Cornwall & Dorset, Group 4 Gloucestershire, Avon, Hampshire & Herefordshire, Group 5 East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey & Kent and Group 6 Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Hertfordshire & Buckinghamshire. The group stages will start on the weekend of 16th & 17th September and all group matches are scheduled to be completed on 26th November. The knockout rounds will then commence in February 2018. The ESMBA will hold an Open Fours competition on Saturday 2nd September as the season’s curtain raiser with the President’s Day being held on Sunday 3rd September.

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