Somerset will play our first ever day/night Specsavers County Championship match in 2017 when we face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl on Monday June 26th.
All of matches in this round of the competition will be played under lights using a pink ball in an experiment introduced by the ECB.
Discussing the fixture Somerset Director of Cricket, Matt Maynard said: “This will be an experience that most of the counties won’t have had before, but it will be the same for everybody. If it means we get bigger crowds to play in front of in the Specsavers County Championship then I think that it will be a good thing.”
Regarding the use of a pink ball Matt said: “We have only had experience of that in the Second XI. We know that it doesn’t stay as true as the Dukes ball but, being a Kookaburra ball, it will reverse swing so there are several things that we have to take into consideration, especially in the twilight period. Being late June it won’t get dark until quite late so it’s just about the time of the game. Irrespective if it’s a good wicket, you will want to bat and score as many runs as you can.”
“The good thing about it being at Hampshire is that the hotel is close to the playing surface so there won’t be any hassle with travelling at the end of the day! It’s a modern game and it has to move forward so it will be very interesting to see the reaction of the public from that round of matches.”
It will be an early start to the campaign for Somerset with pre-season friendlies beginning on March 19th with a three-day home game against Gloucestershire. This will be followedby a match against Oxford MCCU on April 7th.
The opening Specsavers County Championship match of the season sees Somerset hosting Essex on Friday April 14th about which Maynard said: “I’m surprised that all teams aren’t playing in the first round of games. We know that those opening rounds of games are very competitive and Essex will be one game ahead of us, so we need to try to get as sharp as we possibly can through pre-season and try to get rolling against a full strength Essex who are likely to have Alastair Cook available. They had a really strong start to their season last year which enabled them to get that Second Division promotion spot.”