GLAMORGAN'S long-awaited season opener will be at Somerset in the Bob Willis Trophy on August 1.

The Welsh county travel to Taunton next Saturday in the four-day competition, which has been split into three regions with the two teams that earn the most points meeting in a five-day final in September.

Glamorgan are in the Central group with Division One sides Somerset, Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire and Warwickshire and fellow Division Two team Worcestershire.

First up is a trip to Taunton, a return for coach Matthew Maynard who spent three years as Somerset director of cricket, before an away game at Worcestershire.

Gloucestershire are the first visitors to Sophia Gardens on Saturday, August 15 before a fixture in Northampton.

The final fixture sees Warwickshire visiting the capital, with both home fixtures behind closed doors.

Director of cricket Mark Wallace is relishing a spell of red-ball cricket before the T20 Blast, which starts on August 27 with fixtures set to be confirmed next month.

South Wales Argus:

"There's a different look to the County Championship this season with us playing regionally but it's also very exciting," said Wallace.

"We're in a tough group and we'll be playing against some tough first division opposition but none of those teams will be new to us.

"We play them in T20 and the 2nd XI competition is set up regionally so we'll be well prepared for what we're coming up against.

"We've got Somerset first up and that's a big game for us. They are one of the strongest teams in Division One, so it's a challenging start but the opportunity to play any sort of cricket this year is brilliant.

"Although at this moment our members and supporters won't be able to see us in action at Sophia Gardens when we play two big games against Gloucestershire and Warwickshire, they will be able to watch the team via our live stream."

Because of the shortened fixture list, eight points will be awarded to the winners rather than the five from the County Championship.

The first innings of a match can last no longer than 120 overs, the follow-on increases from 150 to 200 runs, the minimum overs in a day goes from a minimum of 96 to 90 while the new ball will be available after 90 rather than 80 overs.

"For all fans of the county game, it is fantastic news that domestic cricket will get under way at the start of August," said ECB performance cricket committee chairman Andrew Strauss.

"It goes without saying that everyone wants to see competitive red and white ball cricket but in these unprecedented times it is crucially important that we recognise that the fitness and wellbeing of players is the top priority after a long lay-off period.

"Following appropriate medical consideration these measures have been put in place for the Bob Willis Trophy to help to protect players from the risk of long-term injury and any impact that could have on their careers."

A special edition women's domestic 50-over competition will be staged this summer featuring the eight teams in the elite structure – the North East, North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West and Wales, South Central, London and South East, London and East – split into two regional groups with the winners facing each other.

Central group: Glamorgan, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire.

North group: Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Durham.

South group: Essex, Kent, Surrey, Middlesex, Sussex, Hampshire.