This Sunday, subject to the vagaries of the English mid-September weather, sees the culmination of the Women's County Championship 2013, season which started back in early May and effectively finished in mid July. The County Champions will be decided as will those being relegated and promoted from and to Divisions 1, 2 and 3.
The matches being played are :-
Divison 1 Championship Title Decider - Sussex v Yorkshire at Campbell Park, Milton Keynes - 10.30am start
Division 1 & 2 Play Off - Somerset v Essex at Slough CC - 11am start
Division 2 & 3 Play Off - Durham v Netherlands at Wellesbourne CC at 11am
Division 3 & 4 Play Off - Oxfordshire v Suffolk at Wokingham CC at 11am
Yorkshire finished in second place in the league and will be relishing their first opportunity at a County Championship for sometime. They lost two games during the "regular season" to Berkshire and Warwickshire, but beat both Sussex and then title holders Kent (by 6 wickets) in a key clash late in the season. The consistent Lauren Winfield (averaging 64.83) has lead their batting attack. She has not failed to reach double figures in any league game this year and has gone passed 50 in 4 of the 7 league games she has played. Significantly she did not play in the defeat to Warwickshire early in the season. Jess Watson has been Yorkshire's other mainstay with the bat, particularly later in the season, enjoying an unbroken opening stand of 177 with Winfield (76*) against Notts, in which she contributed 84. Both enjoy putting bat to ball and Sussex will need to keep them in check. In addition, of course, Yorkshire have Dani Hazell and Katherine Brunt, essentially bowlers, but both will be keen to show what they can do with the bat. Lower down the order experienced skipper Salliann Briggs and the young Hollie Armitage have chipped in with useful runs. Deprived of Brunt for most of the season, spinners Hazell (14), Katie Levick (11) and Aimee Simms (10) have been the main wicket-takers, but with Brunt potentially back and firing on all cylinders they will look to her to make the early breakthrough.
Sussex have had an inconsistent season, despite finishing top of the league. They lost to Yorkshire and Middlesex during the season and were soundly beaten by Kent in the T20 final last weekend. It is true to say that they have had their fair share of injuries this year, notably to their England stars Holly Colvin, Sarah Taylor and Georgia Elwiss. If Taylor and Elwiss play in the final then the Sussex batting becomes considerably stronger and more threatening. Sussex regular and chief wicket-taker Alexia Walker is definitely out of the final with a broken finger, so Sussex will once again be a very young team. Teenagers Izi Noakes and Freya Davies spearhead the fast bowling attack, and with Holly Colvin back from a broken thumb she will be one of possibly a trio of spin bowlers for Sussex.
At the beginning of the season Yorkshire would have been considered underdogs for this final, but given the way the season has panned out they might just be favourites. But this is a one-off game (surely not how a league title should be decided?). One big contribution for either side could swing it their way. This could be a nail-biting climax to the season?