ESSEX Cricket fans can start planning for life in Division One after the 2017 fixtures were announced, including the first ever day/ night match at the Essex County Ground.
Chelmsford will host Middlesex in the County Championship on Monday, June 26 in a bid to broaden the audience for the four day game – with the only previous day/night match a trial game between Kent and Glamorgan in 2011.
Head Coach Chris Silverwood and his team will begin life in the division with a home clash against Lancashire before a trip to Somerset the following week.
Essex will be reunited with former bowler Reece Topley, who now plays for Hampshire, in the middle of May while champions Middlesex visit the Essex County Ground on Monday, June 26.
Essex will conclude their season at home, with powerhouses Yorkshire making the long trip to the county.
One area Silverwood will be looking for improvement will be in the white ball competitions, with One Day Cup and T20 Blast fixtures also unveiled following a rejig in scheduling.
The One-Day Cup will now be held in April and May, with the final at Lords on July 1, while the T20 Blast will begin later – from early July to mid-August.
Captain Ryan ten Doeschate will lead his side out against Hampshire first up in the One-Day Cup, with all eight games held over an 18-day period – concluding with a trip to Kent Spitfires on Wednesday, May 17.
Eagles fans will welcome big-hitting Surrey in their first T20 Blast tie of the season on July 7, before a trip to Kent two days later.
Matches against Surrey and Glamorgan follow, with the final match up on the south coast at Sussex.
*Essex have also announced the popular Colchester Cricket Festival will not take place next season, due to the fixture scheduling.
*Essex Head Groundsman Stuart Kerrison finished joint runner-up in the in the Groundsman of the Year awards.