The One Day Cup begins next week but before it does so all 18 counties are involved in one final round of Specsavers County Championship matches which begin on Friday and go through to Monday.
Last week was an exceptional four days of action with some amazing cricket and quite unbelievable outcomes and I’m sure we will get no different in these matches too.
The big match of the week comes from The Oval where a series of England players and exceptional young talents will be on show when Surrey host Yorkshire. The early pacesetters Nottinghamshire welcome Jimmy Anderson and his Lancashire side to Trent Bridge while down at Taunton, Somerset who have made a fast start to the campaign take on much fancied before a ball was bowled Hampshire. The other match sees the champions Essex taking on Worcestershire at New Road.
The main focus in this division this week will be on Canterbury where an improving Kent side play host to promotion chasing Sussex in a clash between third and second. Warwickshire currently lead the way in the division and they welcome Northamptonshire to Edgbaston while Derbyshire take on Durham. The other two matches see Middlesex host Gloucestershire at Lord’s and Leicestershire facing Glamorgan at Grace Road.
I’m not having much luck in this competition yet but hopefully that can change this week where there a couple of decent priced fancies that I have. The first of those is in Division One where I think Hampshire might well get the better of Somerset. Credit where it is due for Somerset’s fine start to the season but they are without Marcus Trescothick from here on in and that looks to put a huge strain on their batting line up. Of course Hampshire are without Sam Northeast and now Liam Dawson but Gareth Berg is back to bolster the lower order and Hampshire certainly have an attack capable of getting stuck in. If their top order can put up a decent first innings score the visitors should have the tools to get the win here.
It hadn’t been the start to the campaign Durham wanted but that might have turned around completely last week when they saw off Leicestershire despite being asked to follow on initially. Things like that give a side a huge boost and now they have Mark Wood coming back from the IPL while Nathan Rimmington and on loan seamer Matt Dixon will bolster the seam options massively. Durham head to Derbyshire to take on a side who will be without Gary Wilson from their ranks which isn’t ideal. Derbyshire shocked everyone with an opening win against Middlesex but they’ve not won since. They were heavily behind in a rain affected draw with Leicestershire and were well beaten by Warwickshire. If Durham’s top order found some form and belief in that second dig last week and take it into this one they look good value given that they will have the choice of unleashing their seam artillery first.
PUSH – Back Hampshire to beat Somerset for a 4/10 stake at 2.10 with Ladbrokes
PUSH – Back Durham to beat Derbyshire for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betfair
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