With the group stage of the Royal London One Day Cup having concluded it is back to the longer format of the game on Saturday for four days in the Specsavers County Championship, where seven matches take place up and down the country.
We are reduced to the county streams and social media feeds for updates on these matches but with the Championship likely to get some attention ahead of the Test series with India this feels like an important weekend.
The top two meet at Taunton on Saturday when Somerset in second place play host to the leaders Nottinghamshire with the latter in good spirits after securing their place in the One Day Cup quarter finals on Thursday. The other two matches see two South Africa internationals opposed each other when Dale Steyn and his Hampshire side face Surrey who will have Morne Morkel in their ranks. Lancashire play host to the champions Essex in the other match.
The leaders Warwickshire will be looking to get over their 50 over disappointment when they play host to struggling Glamorgan at Edgbaston while second placed Kent will head to Bristol to take on Gloucestershire who didn’t have a great first month of the campaign. The other two matches see Durham hosting Derbyshire while bottom of the pile Northamptonshire will be looking to get their first win of the season when they take on Leicestershire.
I’ll go with two bets this week. In the top flight I think now could be the time to get on the champions Essex again. They have got themselves going in the 50 over competition and having Alastair Cook back should do them no harm whatsoever. Lancashire were pretty ordinary in the first stage of the season and certainly won’t have boosted their confidence with their 50 over displays very much. They look light with the bat do Lancashire and with this Essex attack fully fit and their batsmen with runs under their belt I like them here.
Northamptonshire were terrible in the first part of the season. In six innings their highest score with the bat has been 256 and with Josh Cobb out of this match it might be that they don’t build on that against a Leicestershire side armed with Mohammad Abbas once again and a useful enough attack around him. Leicestershire look to have more runs in them and if Abbas stars like he did for Pakistan at Lord’s the Foxes will be value here.
WON – Back Essex to beat Lancashire for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Ladbrokes
WON – Back Leicestershire to beat Northamptonshire for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Coral