The first month of the LV= County Championship draws to a close this week with another set of matches getting underway on Thursday, with for the first time since the opening week of the campaign a bit of weather needing to be dodged along the way.
We are heading towards the halfway mark in the first stage of the First-class season so every match is starting to take on even more significance than they had to begin with. That will make the various live streams well worth watching this week.
Essex suffered a surprise defeat last week which pushed the champions outside the top three in the table. They travel to second placed Worcestershire who they drew with in the opening week of the campaign. Warwickshire are the team on top of the table and they make the journey to the Riverside to take on Durham. The other match in this group sees fourth placed Derbyshire taking on their local rivals Nottinghamshire, who go into the week bottom of the group despite the heroics of Haseeb Hameed last week.
Hampshire kept hold of top spot in Group 2 last week despite narrowly missing out on a win over Gloucestershire. They head to the capital this week to take on a Surrey side who are yet to win this term. Gloucestershire held on to second spot last week and will be out to build on their position when they host the bottom side Leicestershire at Bristol. The other match in the group sees the fancied Somerset going up against Middlesex looking to complete a remarkable double after their amazing win at Lord’s at the beginning of the season.
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It is Lancashire who are leading the way in Group 3 heading into the week and they will make the trip to Hove to take on Sussex who start the round of matches in third place. Yorkshire are in second place in the table and they host a competent Northants side at Headingley while the other match in the group sees the two early stragglers in the section meeting when Glamorgan host Kent in a clash which even this early in the season is one neither can afford to lose.
Durham are getting supported heading into the week because Mark Wood and Brydon Carse are back in their squad but I’m still not convinced they are going to get any joy out of a Warwickshire side who look in decent nick and who bring some bowling firepower of their own back into their ranks in the form of Liam Norwell and Henry Brookes, while still keeping a pretty strong depth to their batting which could be significant.
Durham went well last week in a draw with Derbyshire on a pitch that was flat as anything but Daniel Bedingham was a massive feature in that match and I wonder what will happen if he is out early this week. Warwickshire will take a much better attack to Durham than Derbyshire did and if the likes of Haruma Vihari come on for the run, which is likely given that last week was his first game in this country, then the Bears look in decent order. If you beat Essex over four days you are playing well. I’ll back them to follow that up here if the showers stay away.
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