Worcestershire members and supporters can look forward to a thrilling start to the home Specsavers County Championship programme next summer when Division One cricket returns to Blackfinch New Road.

The County will take on fellow promoted side Nottinghamshire in their opening home Championship match of 2018 from April 27 to 30.

Skipper Joe Leach’s side overhauled long time pace-setters Nottinghamshire in the finishing straight with the aid of a magnificent victory at Trent Bridge courtesy of a superb century by Daryl Mitchell.

Next up at Blackfinch New Road will be another attractive fixture against reigning Division One champions Essex from May 11.

They won the title at the first attempt after being promoted.

Leach is determined that Worcestershire also do all they can to make a strong impression in Division One.

He said: “It is very exciting now the fixtures are out. Last year was great and we really feel like we want to do a job in Division One now.

“We can’t look at those names in there and feel subservient. We’ve got to go out there and match them and beat them ultimately because that’s what we want to do.

“That’s our aim, to go into Division One and do as well as we can.

“We’ve got to be respectful of these teams, but no more respectful than any of the teams we were playing last year.”

Worcestershire will launch their Championship programme with a double away header.

They face Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl from April 13 and then tackle Somerset at Taunton the following week.

Worcestershire will be heading to the seaside in August with successive away Championship matches against Yorkshire at Scarborough and Lancashire at Southport.

Leach said: “It is always pretty good up at Scarborough. The Yorkshire crowd are normally pretty vocal and I know our supporters enjoyed their visit there a couple of years ago.

“I notice we are at Southport as well.  It is nice to visit those out-grounds but, wherever we play, we want to do as well as we can.”

Leach is looking for Worcestershire to go one better in the Royal London One-Day Cup in 2018 after topping the North Group this summer and securing a home semi-final.

He said: “We did well but that is what this team is capable of. We’ve set the bar now and we’ve got to try and keep reaching that standard and go one further.

“Hopefully we can get to Lord’s and win one of these white ball competitions in the next few years.

“To do that, we need to keep turning in campaigns like we did last year. I expect nothing less from the lads than to put on another good showing.

“It is a tough group. We know that but we are a good side and we’ve got to go and match these teams.”

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