SIX matches will be played this Saturday as the I’Anson Competition enters a new era after adopting a split playing format at last November’s ADM.

The format, already used by other leagues in the south, involves both limited overs and ‘time’ cricket. The season will start and finish with straight 45-overs matches. The traditional 90-overs games, which can be drawn, will be played in the middle weeks.

The changes followed exhaustive lobbying of clubs and players last year, plus a major survey, and the management committee’s recommendations, including a revised points system, were approved by club delegates.

Divisions One to Three will become 10-team divisions in 2018 when a realigned I’Anson league will play a shorter season.

For this season, teams in Divisions Four to Six will play 80-overs matches – also with the split format.

On Saturday, three games will be played in Division Two and three in Division?Three.

Brook, after their rapid rise through the league, make their Division?Two debut with a match at Shalford. Thursley, also promoted, host The Bourne in a game between two former giants of the 116-year-old competition. The strong 2nd XIs of Frensham and Grayshott meet at Hollowdene.

Grayswood II, last season’s Division Four champions, visit Dogmersfield II in their opening Division Three fixture. Relegated Headley II host promoted Milford. Puttenham II mark their return to the division with a home match against Grayshott III.

The following week (April 22), Puttenham open their I’Anson Cup defence at home to Headley.

Two teams will play their first ever matches in Division?One. Pirbright, the 2016 Division?Two champions, start their campaign at Frensham, while Lurgashall have an equally tough opening fixture at home to Blackheath, last season’s runners-up.

Matches in Divisions Four to Six will start on April 29.