Tough start for Northants as they open with trip to Edgbaston, followed by home clash with champions Essex

David Ripley and Northants face a testing start to the 2020 County Championship season
David Ripley and Northants face a testing start to the 2020 County Championship season

Northants will start life in the top flight of English cricket with a testing trip to Edgbaston to take on Warwickshire, with the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash starting on Sunday, April 19.

David Ripley's men will then host reigning champions Essex at the County Ground on Saturday, April 25, before another home encounter with Kent (Friday, May 1).

The domestic schedule for the 2020 season was announced on Tuesday morning, and it sees Northants play six Division One matches before the end of May.

They are not included in the first round of fixtures that start on Easter Sunday (April 12), and will instead play Leeds Bradford MCCU in a warm-up match at Wantage Road, starting on Easter Monday (April 13).

Following on from the home dates with Essex and Kent, the County travel to Taunton to take on 2019 runners-up Somerset on May 8, and then hit the road again as they take on Surrey at Guildford from Friday, May 15.

The opening block of first-class matches is concluded with a home date with Yorkshire, starting on Friday, May 22.

Northants will start their season at Edgbaston

Northants will start their season at Edgbaston

From Sunday, June 14, it's a trip to Essex, and then Surrey are the visitors to the County Ground on June 28 with Lancashire in town the following week (July 5).

Due to staging of The Hundred, the Championship then takes a break until the end of August, and the final block of matches start with a trip to Canterbury to take on Kent (Aug 23), before Gloucestershire visit the County Ground from August 29.

The season is wrapped up with three fixtures in September, with a home game against Warwickshire (Sep 14) sandwiched inbetween trips to Hampshire (Sep 8) and Gloucestershire (Sep 22), meaning the County wrap up their campaign in Bristol, just as they did last summer.

So the County will play all their rivals in the top flight twice, apart from Yorkshire, Lancashire, Somerset and Hampshire, who they play once.

The Vitality T20 Blast group stages will be played between Friday, May 29 and Sunday, July 12, with the Steelbacks, who are again in the North group, starting with three away matches.

First up is a trip to Liverpool to take on Lancashire Lightning on Friday, May 29, before taking on Leicestershire Foxes at Grace Road the following afternoon (May 30).

Tuesday, June 2 sees Ripley's side to to Worcestershire Rapids before they have their first home clash against Durham Jets on Friday, June 5.

Two days later (June 7) they host Derbyshire Falcons on a Sunday afternoon, before a Thursday night home date with the Rapids (June 11).

The Steelbacks are then back on the road at Yorkshire Vikings (June 12) and Birmingham Bears (June 23), before a quickfire quartet of home fixtures against Lightning (Weds, June 24), Notts Outlaws (Fri, June 26), the Foxes (Fri, July 3) and the Bears (Thurs, July 9).

The County end their campaign how they started it, with an away double header, travelling to the Falcons on Saturday, July 11 and then Durham on Sunday, July 12.

The 50-over Royal London One Day Cup campaign begins on Sunday, July 19 with the Steelbacks travelling to the Oval to take on Surrey, before they head to Edgbaston to take on the Bears on Wednesday, July 22.

The County are on the road on July 26 as well as they go to Grantham to take on Notts Outlaws, before their first home game of the competition against Derbyshire Falcons on Tuesday, July 28.

The Steelbacks then host Leicestershire Foxes (Fri, July 31) and Somerset (Sunday, Aug 2) before going to York Cricket Club to face Yorkshire Vikings (Tues, Aug 4).

Ripley's men wrap up the group stage with a home date against Glamorgan on Sunday, August 9.

The T20 Blast Finals Day has been scheduled in for Edgbaston on Saturday, September 5, while the Royal London One Day Cup Final will be staged at Trent Bridge on Saturday, September 19.

The controversial Hundred competition starts on July 17, with the final to be played on August 15.