DEFENDING champions Old Down will visit either Patchway or Dymock in the first round of the Gloucestershire County Trophy, sponsored by insurance firm Mann Broadbent.

Almondsbury have been drawn away to Cirencester in the preliminary round with the winners set to face Newent at home in the first round after the draw for this year’s competition was made.

Oldlands are also among ten teams competing in the preliminary round and will visit Newnham for the chance to face Hanham or Aston Ingham away in the last eight.

Old Down, Newent and 2013 finalists Cheltenham Civil Service were all given a bye to the first round.

Preliminary matches must be completed by June 8 and first round games by July 13.

Gloucestershire County Cup champions Lechlade will begin the defence of their trophy at home to Painswick.

Both sides have been given a bye through to the first round, while several teams from higher leagues, including Thornbury, Cheltenham and last year’s semi-finalists Downend, will have to come through a preliminary round to join them.

The pick of the preliminary fixtures sees West of England Premier One side Downend host Thornbury from Premier Two while in round one, last year’s beaten finalists Bedminster face Gloucester City Winget, who made the quarter-finals in 2013.

Chipping Sodbury have been drawn at home to Knowle in the preliminary round and will face Corse and Staunton or Bristol YMCA if they progress, while Winterbourne have been given a bye straight to the first round and handed a home tie against either Tewkesbury or Old Bristolians Westbury.

In total 21 clubs have entered the 2014 competition which will again be sponsored by cover and sightscreen specialist Stuart Canvas.

All preliminary matches must be played by June 1 and first round fixtures completed by June 29.

Gloucestershire Cricket Board chief executive Steve Silk said: “Last year was the first time we had run two county cup competitions and it proved hugely successful.

"By introducing the County Trophy for teams outside the West of England Premier League structure, we had more teams playing competitive cricket on Sundays than we had for many years.

“This year we have slightly less sides in the County Cup but more in the Trophy.

"For us to have maintained the overall number of clubs across both competitions is really encouraging – especially in the face of increased Sunday cricket with the growth of the Village Cricket League and the North Somerset Sunday League.”