England will host Ireland for the first time in an international fixture next summer – with the two countries set to contest two Royal London One-Day Internationals at Bristol and Lord’s.
The two-match series will create cricketing history as Ireland have never before taken on England in this country.
The fixtures will kick off the 2017 international season with Bristol’s Brightside Ground hosting the first encounter on Friday, 5th May and Lord’s staging the second match on Sunday, 7th May.
The two countries enjoy close cricketing ties with Ireland hosting England for their inaugural one-day international ten years ago in Belfast – a match the visitors won by 38 runs. For Bristol the ties are even closer with several Irish players including captain, William Porterfield having honed their cricketing skills in the city and current Ireland Head Coach, John Bracewell an adopted Bristolian having spent several years as Director of Cricket for Gloucestershire.
GCCC Chief Executive Will Brown said: “We are hugely honoured to be chosen as the host venue for such an historic event and look forward to welcoming both teams and their supporters to the Brightside Ground next May.
“With close links to the current Irish squad and a strong Irish family in and around Bristol we couldn’t be more excited.”
ECB Chief Executive Officer Tom Harrison said: “This series will represent a historic stepping stone in the development of Irish cricket and give further impetus to the growth of the game in Ireland as a whole.
“There’s always been friendly local rivalry between Ireland and England on the sporting field and this is a great opportunity for cricket matches between the two countries to enjoy even greater status and profile.”
ECB Director, England Cricket Andrew Strauss, who led England in Ireland’s inaugural ODI back in 2006, added: “We’ve been hugely impressed by the major strides Irish cricket has made in the last decade and all their players will be savouring the opportunity to play a full one-day international at the Home of Cricket for the first time, as well as taking on England at Bristol.
“Ireland’s past performances in ICC Cricket World Cups have shown just how competitive they can be in the 50-Over format; they will definitely provide our one-squad with a tough test ahead of next summer’s ICC Champions Trophy and I’m sure both these games will be great cricketing occasions with a strong Irish presence in the crowd at each venue.
Cricket Ireland Chief Executive Warren Deutrom said: “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to ECB for their support in bringing this series to fruition and, in particular, giving us the opportunity to play a two-match series in England for the first time.“
“We have set out our stall to make cricket a mainstream sport in Ireland and perhaps one measure of that is for the Blarney Army, whether living in Ireland or England, to arrive in their thousands to paint the Home of Cricket green in front of a worldwide TV audience. It’s a real chance for Irish cricket to prove itself a worthy addition to the sport’s economy as well as its competitive elite.”
Ireland captain William Porterfield said: “It’s absolutely massive for us to have the opportunity to play against England in a series.”
“I’m certain we’ll have a lot of support there from both the Irish living in the UK and travelling over from Ireland. There’ll be a great atmosphere and it will be one which the team will relish playing in front of.
“Teams travelling to play England are also coming over here now to play series too so hopefully that trend will continue. We are getting more and more international fixtures with games against Pakistan, Afghanistan, Australia and South Africa still to come this year, and England, Bangladesh and New Zealand confirmed already for next year.”