Gale relishing tough opener

30 November 2017 04:36:22 EST

Yorkshire coach Andrew Gale is pleased to be facing county champions Essex first up next season.

Essex, who now have Gale's ex-Tykes team-mate Anthony McGrath in charge, travel to Leeds for the County Championship opener on 13rd April.

"It will be a good test playing against the champions Essex first up," Gale said. "You want to test yourself and if there's ever a time to play Essex - before they get on some sort of run like they did last year - this could be it.

"You always look for the Roses matches too and they come a little later in 2018. These are all fixtures the players get excited about.

"It makes it all the more real when the fixtures come out. They look pretty good and, with two home games in the Championship to start with, we can make a good, solid start.

"We've made Headingley a bit of a fortress in previous years so it's important we can get out of the blocks well."

Trips to face Somerset in Taunton, Essex at Chelmsford and Surrey at the Oval follow the two home fixtures against Essex and Nottinghamshire in April.

Two of the club's seven Division One home fixtures - against Surrey and Worcestershire - will be held at their popular Scarborough ground.

Gale added: "It's been a massive success for us in the last five years and we've had a tremendous record there, but last year we lost both games so it's something we want to put right."

Meanwhile, England are 12/1 to retain The Ashes and 5/2 to win the second Test against Australia in Adelaide.

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