THE new season is still two months away but Daryl Mitchell is already looking forward to Worcestershire’s opening County Championship match of the season and the chance to play again at Lord’s.

The long-serving opening batsman says the ‘Home Of Cricket’ is his favourite ground outside of Blackfinch New Road.

For some Worcestershire players it will be the first opportunity to walk through the hallowed Long Room, certainly for a first-class fixture, when they face Middlesex in Division Two from April 12.

Mitchell, who last month signed a contract extension until the end of the 2021 season, said: “It is the kind of place that has got an amazing atmosphere even with not many people there.

“There is something about walking through the Long Room first thing in the morning, going across the ground into the Nursery End to practice.

“It’s a pretty special feeling and certainly my favourite place to play cricket — outside of (Blackfinch) New Road. There is no better.

“We haven’t been there for a Championship fixture for a while and I think Uxbridge was our last venue so for some of the lads it will be a fantastic new experience.

“There is so much history attached to the place and you look at the honours board and see the greats of the game up there. The lunches are also amongst the best on the circuit!

“I’ve also been to Lord’s a lot during the winter in my PCA role and there is work going on at the Nursery End of the ground.”

Meanwhile, Worcestershire Cricket development director Tom Raymond-Hill is leaving the County for a new role with the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Raymond-Hill is to take up the post of head of network support with the ECB after a decade of making his mark across the area.

ECB director of participation Nick Pryde said: “Tom has been at Worcestershire for the past 10 years and his knowledge of cricket at a county level will be a key addition to the team.

“He also played a key role in bringing international disability cricket to Worcestershire and we are delighted to welcome him to the ECB.”

Raymond-Hill, who plays Birmingham League cricket for Bromsgrove, said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed playing my part in the Worcestershire cricket family.

"It is after all the county where I started playing the game on a playground, coached on many playgrounds and moved my way through the ranks.

“It is a county where I have been fortunate enough to work with some incredible people across the broadest spectrum of the game so thank you for your support.”

Raymond-Hill helped successfully grow the board from three to 12 full-time members of staff and more than double turnover.

He played a key role in the ongoing development of the International Inclusive Cricket Centre supporting the University of Worcester.

Raymond-Hill has also worked to ensure Worcestershire becomes the home of ECB disability cricket and introduced the highly successful Street6’s competition.