The Women's Royal London One Day Championship (that's what the rules call it) starts in just two days. You cannot actually win the County Championship in the first weekend, but you can certainly go a long way towards winning it. With just eight games scheduled to be played, by Monday evening most teams will be a quarter of the way through their season (weather permitting of course).
County champions Kent should be at full strength, given that none of their England players are currently in Sri Lanka learning how to become spin bowlers, or learning how to bat against spin bowlers. The only doubt would seem to be Laura Marsh, who pulled out of going to Sri Lanka with an apparent thigh injury. Yorkshire, on the other hand could be without Lauren Winfield, Dani Hazell, Alex Macdonald and Katherine Brunt (all currently in Sri Lanka). It could be embarrassing for Yorkshire. Kent are likely to make it two out of two on Sunday when they meet a weakened Sussex team, missing several key players through injury, restriction and exams, and without overseas signing Erin Osborne. But Sussex will have Holly Colvin back in their ranks which should add some spice to the game.
On the previous day Sussex will have met with last year's runners-up, Surrey. If Sussex can put enough runs on the board then they can dent Surrey's chances of going one better this year. Sussex will be hoping to keep Nat Sciver quiet and contain overseas player Rachel Candy to avoid a second defeat to Surrey in two years. Sussex should come out on top. They need to win this one if they are to have any chance at the 2015 title.
Surrey are then off to North Maidenhead for their Bank Holiday Monday encounter with Berkshire. If Surrey can take the key wicket of England vice-captain Heather Knight they should come away with their first win of the season.
Berkshire (without Knight) will have been at Middlesex the previous day, in their only game of the weekend, and Middlesex look favourites to come away with a win from that game, if they can build on their T20 form from last season. New skipper Izzy Westbury will be leading from the front in her Lillee-esque headband no doubt.
Notts start their 2015 campaign against Warwickshire at their home ground at Welbeck CC on Sunday. Its a good batting track with plenty of runs in it, and if Danni Wyatt is free to play (which seems unlikely), she could make hay. She is currently having a great time with the bat in Sri Lanka, and will be keen to press for an Ashes squad place. Warwickshire will hope Amy Jones is fit enough to play, and that Becky Grundy (also in Sri Lanka) is allowed to play. Notts might just pip a close game.
Notts second game of the weekend will see the first appearance of Lancashire in Division 1. It could be the game of the weekend, as the LCB Thunder look to get off to a winning start. They have done a great job off the pitch, and will now hope to emulate that on the pitch. But Notts will be a tough start to life in Div 1. Early wickets from Kate Cross could be the key to a Lancs win.
The final game of the first weekend is Warwickshire v Yorkshire. It is a game that both teams will be targeting as a "must-win", which could add to the pressure on both batsmen and bowlers. It could be a nervy low-scoring affair, with Yorkshire (restored to full strength), perhaps, just getting over the line.
There will be a round-up of all the results and performances early next week. If you think there is something I should include then email me - firstname.lastname@example.org
Div 1 Fixtures
Sunday 3rd May
Middlesex v Berks at Edmonton CC
Kent v Yorkshire at KCCC Beckenham
Notts v Warwickshire at Welbeck CC
Surrey v Sussex at Reeds School
Monday 4th May
Berks v Surrey at North Maidenhead
Kent v Sussex at KCCC Beckenham
Notts v LCB Thunder (the cricket team formerly known as Lancashire) at Welbeck CC
Warwickshire v Yorkshire at Moseley CC