GLOUCESTERSHIRE chief executive Tom Richardson believes Twenty20 cricket will be a huge hit in Cheltenham next summer.
With the Friends Life t20 competition starting later next year, Gloucestershire have confirmed they will play three games at the College Ground after the new fixtures were released.
The Cheltenham Festival gets underway on Wednesday, July 10 with a four-day LV= County Championship match against Kent, and this will be followed by a Friends Life t20 match on Sunday, July 14 when Warwickshire visit. The FLt20 match versus Northamptonshire is on Tuesday, July 16 and Gloucestershire then welcome Worcestershire to Cheltenham for a four-day local derby, starting on Wednesday, July 17. The Festival concludes with the final FLt20 match, another local derby, versus Glamorgan on Sunday, July 21.
Richardson said: “It is great to have our fixtures confirmed for 2013 and we are pleased that our home matches are evenly spread over the summer.
“We are very excited to be introducing the Friends Life t20 to Cheltenham and are confident that it will be a great success on what is a small outfield with the crowd very close to the action.
“We always try to have exciting fixtures at the Cheltenham College ground but, of course, we do have to take our place as one of 18 first class counties in what is always a scheduling challenge.
“However, to have a four-day match against Worcestershire - our northern neighbours - and local matches against Glamorgan and Warwickshire is really good news. Kent are also good opponents so we are pleased.”
Richardson was also delighted with the news that the County Ground in Bristol will be hosting touring side Australia A for a three-day game against Gloucestershire, commencing on Friday, June 21, while it has also been chosen as a venue for the game between England Lions and Bangladesh A on Tuesday, August 20.
Richardson said: “Hosting both Australia A in Bristol for a three-day match in June and England Lions in August are added bonuses and we have much to look forward to next year.
“It promises to be a landmark year for Gloucestershire Cricket. Our ground redevelopment project is well underway and we all eagerly anticipate the opening of our brand new pavilion during the latter part of the season.”
Gloucestershire’s 2013 bid for LV= County Championship honours will begin with an away fixture at Chelmsford against Essex on Wednesday, April 10. The first home fixture of 2013 at the County Ground will see the club hosting Northamptonshire on Wednesday, April 24.
Their Clydesdale Bank 40 (CB40) campaign gets underway on Sunday, May 12 when they welcome Middlesex to Bristol. Gloucestershire face old rivals Somerset in Bristol on two occasions during 2013; the first on Friday, July 26 for a Friends Life t20 clash and then again on Bank Holiday Monday, August 26 in the CB40 league.