Cricket: Daunting date for holders

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The Independent Online
Northamptonshire may find it altogether more difficult to win the NatWest next year than they did this year. The draw for the first two rounds has placed two huge early obstacles in their way.

They have been drawn at home to Lancashire in the first round on 22 June and if they get through that they can expect a second- round trip to Essex on 7 July.

NATWEST TROPHY: First round: Buckinghamshire v Leicestershire, Cheshire v Nottinghamshire, Devon v Derbyshire, Glamorgan v Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire v Hertfordshire, Kent v Middlesex, Norfolk v Warwickshire, Northants v Lancashire, Scotland v Worcestershire, Shropshire v Somerset, Staffordshire v Hampshire, Suffolk v Essex, Surrey v Dorset, Sussex v Minor Counties Wales, Wiltshire v Durham, Yorkshire v Ireland. (Ties to be played on 22 June). Second round: Bucks or Leics v Surrey or Dorset; Cheshire or Notts v Shropshire or Somerset; Glamorgan or Oxfordshire v Wilts or Durham; Gloucs or Herts v Yorkshire or Ireland; Norfolk or Warwicks v Kent or Middlesex; Scotland or Worcs v Devon or Derbys; Suffolk or Essex v Northants or Lancs; Sussex or Wales v Staffs or Hants. (Ties to be played on 7 July).

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