Thursday, 12 April 2018

County Championship Div 2 preview

So it's that time of year again. The sound of lambs bleating, of the cuckoo in the distance and it is pissing down with rain. Therefore it can only mean one thing - that the County Championship is amongst us. Here we have a look, in Grand National week, at all the runners and riders in Division Two. And remember folks, the more you bet, the more you win...

Dizzy...fired up
Derbyshire - a massively disappointing campaign in 2017 culminating in the departure of Shiv Thakor after a conviction for indecent exposure meant that the city famous for Rolls Royce was more of a Skoda. Billy Godleman is a talented individual and will be a great skipper and Duane Olivier joins Hardus Viljoen meaning that it will sound more like Bloemfontein than Buxton in the Derbyshire dressing room. They will need the skills of Laurence and not Duane Olivier, if they are to get promoted. Prediction : 9th

Durham - the exodus continued last season with Graham Onions and Keaton Jennings deciding to follow Stoneman and Co out of the Riverside. Chuck in the fact that another player decided that he liked to accompany his nights out with a bit of marching powder and these have been weary times on the Wear. I don't see them getting any better to be honest but Aiden Markham will be a decent acquisition. No points deduction this year but not many stars left either. Prediction 8th

Glamorgan - Shaun Marsh coming is a decent signing for the Welshmen but it will be down to the young talent of the county to see if they can continue the upward curve. Aneurin Donald is the jewel in the Welsh crown but one day cricket is where you will see them make the most impact. Expect better this year as they are improving under the impressive Robert Croft but will the Cardiff boys win it? Llanishen Impossible. Prediction: 7th

Donald...trump card

Gloucestershire - backing this lot will put a Dent in your wallet as I think they will go Norwell. Daniel Worral has come in from Australia but it would need the runs of Sir Frank Worrell to improve the batting, which was a shambles at times last season. Chris Dent will improve things as captain and Liam Norwell needs another good year with the ball. Ryan Higgins from Middlesex is a decent bit of recruitment, one that surprised a number of Middlesex fans but again it will be one day cricket where it will happen in Bristol. Prediction: 10th

Kent - losing your best bowler and best batsman is hardly ideal preparation for those from the Garden of England but Coles and Northeast have departed. Harry Podmore is a real character and will get them going and Sam Billings is now skipper. Kuhn and Henry come in and they could give the big boys a bloody nose occasionally. 2018 won't be an immaculate lawn in the Garden but neither the compost heap either. Mid table obscurity for me. Prediction: 5th

Leicestershire - after years of barren, call for Varun Aaron. The Indian quickie will do well at this level and in Paul Nixon, they have one of the best coaches around. Cosgrove will weigh in with runs a plenty and in Michael Carberry they have a leader who will show spirit. Better times at Grace Road beckon and these Foxes may well have a pack behind them this year, something that hasn't always been the case after multiple lowly finishes. Prediction: 6th

Middlesex - if Middlesex can take twenty wickets regularly on the flat decks of Lord's they will win the title. The batting may have lost the likes of Malan to England duty and Gubbins to injury but George Scott and Max Holden, along with Nick Compton will still compliment Robson and Eskinazi, who I expect to score heavily. Simpson will bolster the middle order but their seam attack need help at Lord's, either from the groundstaff or spinners. If Murtagh, Finn, Helm and Roland-Jones fire, top orders are in trouble. Hilton Cartwright, an Aussie batsman and not a hotel chain, comes in too. Prediction; 2nd

Robson...will be up there as top run scorer in Div 2

Northamptonshire - Doug Bracewell is an interesting choice as an early season overseas. If he can be as prolific on the pitch as he has been rumoured to have been in various New Zealand drinking establishments then he can be a serious signing. Brett "The Hitman" Hutton will help on the bowling front and they will win more games than they lose. Kleinveldt returns in late May to add weight to the attack. Prediction: 4th

Sussex - Jason Gillespie wins things. Two titles with Yorkshire and a Big Bash League with the Adelaide Strikers mean that Sussex will always be in with a shout. Luke Wells scores runs for fun and in Ben Brown, they have a lively skipper. Ishant Sharma, a man who modelled his hairstyle of his new coach circa 1997 will boost the bowling. If they can take twenty wickets at Hove regularly they will be worthing, sorry worthy winners. However don't expect it to be a piece of Peace (haven). I'll get my coat. Prediction: 1st

Warwickshire - Much Ado About Nothing is how Bears fan William Shakespeare would have described 2017 as apathy reigned at Edgbaston. Ian Bell needs to prove that he is more King Bear than King Lear but Will Rhodes is a top addition. Jeetan Patel will take his usual wickets along with the role of captaincy. They will push Middlesex and Sussex all the way if they get it right. An ageing side will find themselves "Once more unto the breach, dear friends". Time will tell if they have a Midsummer Night's Dream or if it will be the Tempest. Prediction; 3rd

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