The latest round of matches in the Specsavers County Championship began on Sunday but the bulk of the fixture list sets on their way on Monday as both divisions take centre stage. We are in a sustained burst of four day cricket now so the quality should improve week-on-week.
Just four points separate the top three in Division One and two of those sides are on show over the four days while the top two in Division Two do battle so this could be a pivotal week in the season even this early in the piece. A number of these matches have live streams for us to follow the action in.
Somerset lead the way in Division One and they will warm up for the Royal London One Day Cup final on Saturday with a home match against struggling Warwickshire. Hampshire sit in third place in the league and they go up against a Nottinghamshire side who may well be smarting from their defeat to Essex last week when First-class cricket returns to the Isle of Wight. Kent and Surrey will take each other on in a local derby in Beckenham.
The big match in this division comes from Old Trafford where the top two do battle as Lancashire in second play host to Worcestershire in first position. Victory in this match will set up whoever wins it for a genuine title challenge and with three teams getting promoted the victors will already have a foot in the top flight. The other two matches see Durham welcoming Gloucestershire to Chester-le-Street and Northamptonshire taking on Sussex at Wantage Road.
I’ll go with a couple of bets this week with the first of them coming on the Isle of Wight where it might be the right time to take on Hampshire. The Championship means a lot to Hampshire but it is human nature for minds to wander towards the cup final on Saturday and with James Vince out of the side on international duty they are missing arguably their best batsman. Nottinghamshire were not impressed with losing last week primarily because they got the toss completely wrong. You would think they would learn from that and if their batsmen stand up to the plate then 13/10 on Nottinghamshire is a shade too big against a side whose minds could very easily be elsewhere.
Durham have not just lost all three matches this season but they haven’t even threatened 300 and with this new Duke ball doing absolutely nothing they are not going to win too many matches with suck a lack of run output. Gloucestershire have only played two matches but they have been scoring plenty of runs and if Josh Shaw can bring something extra to their bowling attack then this looks to be the ideal chance to get their first win of the campaign. It isn’t as though Durham are restricting sides that well. They have been competent in the first innings but sides have gotten away from them in the second dig. Gloucestershire can do that here too.
Back Nottinghamshire to beat Hampshire for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with William Hill
Back them here:
WON – Back Gloucestershire to beat Durham for a 4/10 stake at 1.90 with 888sport