Friday, 25 August 2017

County Championship Denouement

The final two rounds of the 2017 County Championship season are scheduled for this Sunday and Monday with title, promotion and relegation issues to be resolved. Quite what teams most counties will be able to field will probably depend on the availability of players involved in the current KSL.

In Division One unbeaten Warwickshire are once again in the box seat coming into the final weekend of the season, but they were in a similar position last year and blew their chances of a first County Championship title. On Sunday they face a trip to Harrogate to take on second placed Yorkshire. If they can win that one then the title will almost be theirs. On Monday they travel home to the Edgbaston Foundation Ground to take on third placed Lancashire, who, with a full team likely to be available, will be hoping to win both their games and hope the top two slip up somewhere.

Lancs play Notts at Kate Cross's home club - Heywood CC - on Sunday, whilst Yorkshire have them to play in Nottinghamshire in their Monday fixture. Notts are currently fourth in the table with three wins out of five.

At the bottom it is Kent, Sussex, Middlesex and Berkshire who will be fighting to avoid the bottom two relegation places. Bottom county Berkshire are yet to get a win this season and they have Sussex and Kent to play. It is going to be a struggle for them. Middlesex have the same two opponents, but with only three points between them and Sussex above them, they will be targeting a win at Eastcote CC on Monday as a likely relegation decider. Sussex have announced that they have recruited former South African captain Mignon du Preez to bolster their batting ranks for their last two games.

In Divison Two it is going to be a nail-biting weekend with the top four all having won four of their five games, but with Somerset currently top as their other game was abandoned. They have Surrey and Hampshire standing in their way back into Div 1 for next year. Surrey are third and Hampshire second, but Hampshire are unlikely to see Suzie Bates or Charlotte Edwards turning out for them this weekend. Both Surrey and Hampshire have fourth-placed Devon to play in their other fixture of the weekend.

At the bottom it looks tough for Staffs and Worcestershire, who have yet to record a win this year. They meet on Sunday, so one of them will get off the mark, and then on Monday Staffs host Wales and Worcestershire are away at Derbyshire. Wales and Derbyshire are the remaining fixture on Sunday. If either of those teams were to lose both their games then they could find themselves in trouble, but one win should be enough to secure them Div 2 cricket next year.

In Division Three the group games have finished and its play-off time. On Sunday Gloucestershire take on Essex, and on Monday Durham play Northamptonshire, with the winners promoted to Div 2 next year.


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