Worcestershire Seconds will play a larger block of four-day Championship cricket this summer.
Seconds Coach, Kadeer Ali, is delighted with the increase from eight to 10 Championship fixtures for the 2022 campaign and a better-balanced fixture list.
With a three-day and two-day friendly also planned, the Seconds can look forward to a possible 45 days of red ball action.
As with the senior side, the Championship programme is spread throughout the summer with games every month from April through until September.
In addition, there will again be a Second Eleven T20 competition with 10 group games, two of which will be staged at New Road.
Glamorgan will be the visitors on May 17 and Somerset seven days later.
Kadeer said: “Last year, we had eight four-day games with one washed out and another lasting only two days.
“I was a bit conscious of that, and ten Championship games this summer seems about right, plus a two day game and a three day game at the start.
“That should give us a healthy amount of matches. This year we have got the balance a lot better, and we should get a decent amount of red ball cricket.”
In terms of the Championship matches being more evenly spread, Kadeer said: “I’ve learnt from last year. We then had four games in four weeks, and if you get a bit of bad weather in that one period, it can wipe out a lot of cricket.
“The fourth of those games was washed out, and then we had a natural break, so we didn’t play for nearly three weeks.
“I’ve tried to spread the programme out so we can get some decent cricket throughout the year.”
Once again, there is no Second Eleven 50 over competition, but Kadeer says the opportunity may be there for promotion to play in the Royal London Cup, as was the case with Josh Baker and Jacques Banton last summer.
He said: “It’s a tricky one, really, depending on who is signed up for The Hundred, and most counties are not playing much second team cricket at that time (in August).
“There is always the option for a couple of Seconds one-day games in August further down the line but there is also the incentive for lads, if they perform and put pressure on in the second team.
“Naturally, there are guys who will get an opportunity in that tournament (Royal London Cup). That’s normal; that just comes with the job. They’ve got to perform and keep pushing for places, and that’s what we want as a squad.
“We want competition for places, for the guys to be pushing and, the guys who have got the first eleven spots, to be on their toes.
“if you looked at Josh Baker last summer, he was amazing. He came into the Seconds T20 block and bowled really nicely and got his opportunity, and at times he was the ‘go-to’ player when the pressure was on.
“It was a brilliant learning curve for him, and I’m sure he will keep improving.
“Jacques Banton also bowled pretty well in a couple of the games and had a decent knock, and that will give him a lot of confidence.
“It could be anyone from the squad really this year, and, as long as they are performing and working hard and putting a good shift in, then they will have a chance.”
SECOND ELEVEN FIXTURES 2022
5 South Asian Cricket Academy – Stratford (Two Day F)
11 Gloucestershire – Kidderminster (SEC)
26 Leeds Bradford UCCE – Kidderminster (Three Day F)
2 Northamptonshire – Northampton (SEC)
9 Glamorgan – Newport (SEC)
16 Somerset – Taunton Vale (SET20)
17 Glamorgan – New Road (SET20)
19 Warwickshire – Barnt Green (SET20)
20 Glamorgan – Sudbrook (SET20)
24 Somerset – New Road (SET20)
30 Warwickshire – Portland Road (SET20)
31 Gloucestershire – Cheltenham College (SET20 x 2)
2 Northamptonshire – Northampton (SET20 x 2)
13 Leicestershire – Barnt Green (SEC)
27 Warwickshire (Portland Road) (SEC)
11 Nottinghamshire – Notts Sports Cub (SEC)
18 Somerset – Stourport (SEC)
25 South Asian Cricket Academy (One Day F)
15 Northamptonshire – Kidderminster TBC (One Day F)
11 Gloucestershire – Rockhampton (SEC)
5 – Lancashire – Kidderminster (SEC)
12 – Hampshire – Ageas Bowl (SEC)