Thursday, 14 April 2016

Division 1 Preview

Division One of the Specsavers County Championship promises to be tighter than Phil Tufnell at the bar. Not much separates the top sides this year and it will be a close run race. We expect Yorkshire to win it but only just and with two sides going down this year, Marlon Samuels and Ben Stokes are likely to have less of a scrap. Here are the runners and riders in Division One...oh and if you do take our advice and gamble on the following, please don't come and visit us when you are homeless come September.

Will Gale lift it three years in a row?
Durham - no one will miss the loss of Hastings more than this lot since King Harold lost an eye. No money, no new players yet they know how to scrap. Stoneman, Jennings and Borthwick will provide the runs at the top of the order and big things are expected of Jack Burnham. Rushworth and Onions will relish the green tops, although with the new toss law this year expect Chester le Street to be better to bat on. It might even spin on Day Four, occasionally. Perhaps. May struggle but any side with Paul Collingwood will scrap all day. TMS Prediction 6th

Hampshire - ironically something that left Southampton in 1912 went down by hitting a 'berg, but the loss of all rounder Gareth in the early season could mean a similar effect for this lot. James Vince and Carberry will score the runs at the top of the order and Fidel Edwards needs to crank it up. An ageing side they won a few last year towards the end and stayed up by the skin of their teeth. Look out for two young spinners in Mason Crane and Brad Taylor. Another Brad, Wheal is wheels too. This lot will be a force in T20 when Sammy and Afridi arrive. TMS Prediction 9th

Could be a year of struggle at the AEGEAS Bowl

Lancashire - some decent home grown talent coming through the ranks and with one of the finest coaches in the country in Ashley Giles. Last year they won the T20 and Division Two but it is a big jump for the Manchester lads. Look out for Saqib Mahmood, Aron Lilley and Haseeb Hameed who are three of their young guns. Ashwell Prince's departure could be the most telling thing in the sporting world at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson. This lot with a 750k profit last year are richer than Mike Baldwin. Kerrigan needs a good year. TMS Prediction 7th

Middlesex - my heart says champions but head says runners up again. A nucleus of late twenties players should push Yorkshire close and Sam Robson could well bounce back to score big runs. Voges will contribute and they bat deep. They have an outstanding keeper in John Simpson and rival Yorkshire with their bowling attack. Expect them to be a force in T20 this year too with the arrival of Brendon McCullum. This lot could feast more on opposition attacks than Mike Gatting did on lunches at Lord's in the eighties. TMS Prediction 2nd


Nottinghamshire - consistently inconsistent. Have the ability to win it and too many games last year were drawn when a little more imagination would have seen them push Yorkshire. Brendan Taylor tends to book in for bed and breakfast at the crease when not using the local automobiles for his stay and the bowling attack is strong. Jake Ball could well go higher in the game and Brett "The Hitman" Hutton is a wicket taker. Jackson Bird is worth a flutter on being top wicket taker on the Trent Bridge green tops. If the batting clicks then watch out. TMS Prediction 4th

Somerset - a strong top six and in Chris Rogers they have an outstanding player who will lead from the front. Some quality home grown talent here with Abell, Gregory and the Overtons. Look out for Ryan Davies, the young wicket keeper signed from Kent too. If they can stay injury free they will do ok. Trescothick will still score heavily and expect them to be strong in T20 when a certain Mr Gayle will have the locals blushing the same colour as the cider apples. A mid table finish in the longer format awaits. TMS Prediction 5th

Surrey - many expect them to challenge, I think they will go down. The better sides in the county championship have strong attacks and Surrey will struggle to take twenty wickets a game on the good wickets at the Gasworks. Ravi Rampaul is a strange signing considering the excellent youngsters at the Oval and the Currans will find that sides bat deeper in Division One despite their great promise. No problem scoring runs with Harinath, Roy and Sangakkara leading the way. TMS Prediction 8th

Warwickshire - this lot could even win it if they get their act together. No Aston Villa style implosion here as Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott will score runs. Varun Chopra is a class act too despite having not the best year last year. The bowling attack is decent with Woakes, Barker and Rankin being backed up by a quality spinner in Jeetan Patel. Rikki Clarke catches pigeons at slip and Sam Hain is one to watch. Could be jollies in the Hollies come September. TMS Prediction 3rd

Brooks...always worth a few quid as leading wicket taker

Yorkshire - I reckon they will win a third in a row but it will be closer this year than the previous two. Jonny Bairstow held them together early on last year and he will be absent on England duty. Lyth will return to boost them and Alex Lees is England material despite last season. The bowling is their strength but need Brooks and Sidebottom to stay fit. The parsimonious Patterson and Bresnan keep it tight and Willey needs to prove himself in red ball cricket. Plunkett offers something different as does Rashid. Still they have too much class to come anywhere but first but expect it to be tighter than the local's pockets this year. TMS Prediction 1st


  1. Business as usual.
    We'll even let everybody bowl first at Headingley to give 'em a chance.
    It'll be a slim chance though.

  2. Business as usual.
    We'll even let everybody bowl first at Headingley to give 'em a chance.
    It'll be a slim chance though.