There's been a change to the Drakes League Oddfellows and Earnshaw Cups for the 2015 season.

Instead of a preliminary round being played, because there are 24 teams in each competition, a full opening round of 12 matches will be staged in both Cups.

That will be played on Bank Holiday Monday, May 25, and then at the next stage four teams will be given byes and the other eight will play.

Those matches will be on Sunday, June 7, while the quarter-finals in both competitions – Oddfellows is for first XIs outside the Premiership and Earnshaw for second XIs – will be played on Sunday, June 28.

The Drakes League season will start on Saturday, April 18, with the following day featuring six preliminary matches in the Sykes Cup and Paddock Shield.

First-round matches in the Sykes Cup and Paddock Shield will be played on Sunday, May 3, after a full programme of league matches on the Saturday.

Officials have moved to ensure all three divisions – Drakes Premiership, Jedi Sports Championship and Cedar Court Conference – finish on the same date and that will be Saturday, September 12.

 

Because the Tour de France Saturday is now free again, Premiership teams will have only three double-headers and these have been split up, so the extra matches are on Sundays April 26, June 28 and September 6.

The Sykes Cup final is scheduled for Sunday, August 9, with the Paddock Shield the following Sunday, August 16. A reserve date of Sunday, August 23, has been set for both finals.

As is traditional, there will be separate dates (July 5 and July 12) for the first and second semi-finals of both the Sykes Cup and Paddock Shield.

The Oddfellows and Earnshaw Cup finals will be staged on Sunday August 2.

In the T20 Trophy and Shield competitions, both finals will be held at the same venue on Sunday, July 26.

Former county cricketer Peter Bowler will be guest speaker at the Drakes League annual dinner and presentation at the Cedar Court Hotel on Friday (6.15 for 6.45).