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Blackheath get bye in defence of Royal London national title

Tuesday 22nd December 2015

Blackheath begin their defence of the Royal London Club Championship in 2016 with a bye and then a possible home derby tie in round two, writes Charles Randall.

The national champions will face the winner of the first round tie between Shepherd Neame Kent Cricket Premier League club Bexley and Sussex side Preston Nomads.

If Blackheath can progress through a strong group containing current Kent champions Hartley Country Club, they can start dreaming of a second consecutive final, most recently achieved by another Kent club Bromley in 2006 and 2007.

Kent's Daniel Bell-Drummond and Ivan Thomas are former Blackheath players and the Royal London Club Championship trophy is widely regarded as one of the most coveted prizes in English club cricket.

Nearly 250 clubs have entered the 2016 competition which runs alongside county cricket's Royal London One-Day Cup with the club final due to be held at Northampton on Sunday 18 September.

Bromley failed to win the 2006 final, leaving Chorley, Old Hill and Scarborough as the only clubs to have won back-to-back national titles. Club cricket strength seems to be spread more evenly these days.

There have been a variety of winners, and Northern, from Liverpool, were denied their maiden title in 2015 by an excellent performance from Blackheath under the captaincy of Chris Willetts.

See Kent in 50-over action in the Royal London One-Day Cup next summer