Friday, 12 July 2013

Decisive final weekend in County Champs Divs One and Two

The final full weekend of Women's County Championship fixtures will almost certainly see the top two in both divisions decided. At the bottom of both divisions matters may not be quite so clear come Sunday night.

Division One

League leaders Kent take on third team Yorkshire up in Harrogate. Kent know if they win then they will definitely be in the Division One play-off again on 15th September, but, if they lose, Yorkshire, who have another game to play against Middlesex, could still get to the Championship play-off themselves. This could be at the expense of Kent, or if Sussex slip up, then it could be to play Kent again.

Sussex meanwhile have their destiny in their own hands. They have their last two games this weekend - on Saturday against Berkshire and on Sunday against Essex. If they win both games they will almost certainly be through to the play-off, provided they score a reasonable number of bonus points. That would keep them above Yorkshire, even if they won both their games, and Kent, if they were to lose to Yorkshire.

At the bottom (where the bottom two will play-off against each other and the loser then plays the winner of the Division Two play-off to stay in the league) Surrey have a tough game at Warwickshire, who had a very important win against Berkshire last week. It means Warwickshire are probably safe, but with Middlesex on a roll (they have won their last two games against Warwickshire and Sussex) they cannot afford to relax too much. Essex are also only one win just behind them, but they still have two games to play. They will have their work cut out against Sussex on Sunday, particularly if Sussex have won the day before against Berkshire. Their other game is against Surrey themselves, which is yet to be scheduled.

The final game on Sunday is Berkshire v Notts. Both will want to win to keep their slim hopes of reaching the title play-off game alive. It will be the last game for both sides this year, and both look destined to finish mid-table.

Division Two

In Division Two Somerset play their last game of the season against Devon and they will expect to win and provided they pick up a couple of bonus points that will be enough to see them through to the Div Two play-off match no matter what happens elsewhere. If league leaders Lancashire beat Durham on Sunday then it will be Lancashire who meet them there, even though they still have another game to play against Ireland on Monday.

Ireland's slim chances of getting to the play-off rest on them beating Staffordshire on Sunday and then Lancashire in their last game of the season on Monday, but Somerset will still have to trip up on Sunday against Devon. Its a longshot, but they have nothing to lose after having had a great season.

The final game on Sunday in Division Two is Worcestershire v Wales clash. Wales are scrapping it out at the bottom with Devon and Durham (all have one win to date). One win for any team in their last couple of games (Durham actually have three) could be the one that takes them out of the bottom two.

There will be a lot of frayed nerves throughout the country on Sunday afternoon and I will update this blog as soon as I can on Monday with results and consequences.


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