Although the latest round of matches in the Specsavers County Championship began at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday, the majority of the fixtures get underway on Sunday as we head deeper into the second half of the campaign.
The break for the T20 Blast is getting ever closer so the teams in the mix for the respective titles and promotion and things will be eager to pick up as many points as they can this week to ease their quest when the competition returns.
Things are really tightening up in the top division at the minute with the title race now in full swing. The leaders Somerset are in action on Sunday and they will look to preserve, and hopefully from their point of view, extend their lead when they take on Nottinghamshire down in Taunton. If Somerset do win they will gain on someone close to them as second meets third this weekend when Essex entertain Yorkshire down at Chelmsford with the other match in the division seeing Surrey facing Kent at the Kia Oval.
There are four matches in Division Two of the competition where the promotion chasing Lancashire have a trip to Northamptonshire to negotiate. Derbyshire sit one outside the play-off places so their visit to Kidderminster to take on Yorkshire is huge in light of two of the sides above them not being in action this week. Leicestershire host Durham in another match to get going on Sunday while Middlesex take their match against Gloucestershire to Northwood with Lord’s getting ready for the Cricket World Cup final.
Durham look overpriced to me this week. In the last couple of weeks they have seen off Sussex and given Lancashire a decent battle and as a form line in this league that isn’t far off being as good as it gets. Leicestershire have drawn with Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire in their last two outings but they haven’t taken a first innings lead since the opening match of the season which is a slight concern.
Durham look to be warming to the task under Cameron Bancroft. He is leading by example and his experienced players are following him at the minute. If Durham can keep up for the form of the last couple of weeks and bat smartly against Mohammad Abbas, I think there is another victory for them here to catapult them up the table.
WON – Back Durham to beat Leicestershire for a 4/10 stake at 2.25 with 888sport