While the stars of the county game will be competing in the new tournament The Hundred, those left behind have silverware of their own to battle it out for as the Royal London One Day Cup gets played out. This is the domestic 50 over competition which might ironically get more love than normal with many against the new event.
This tournament hit the can last year in the truncated season due to the pandemic which means that Somerset will finally get the chance to defend the title they won at Lord’s in 2019. 17 other counties will want to dethrone them.
2019 – Somerset
2018 – Hampshire
2017 – Nottinghamshire
2016 – Warwickshire
2015 – Gloucestershire
2014 – Durham
2013 – Nottinghamshire
2012 – Hampshire
2011 – Surrey
2010 – Warwickshire
The 18 counties are split up into two groups which this year are a bit of a mish mash rather than the North and South that usually gets used. Each team plays the other eight in their group once in the first stage of the tournament and then when that has concluded the top side in each table progress straight through to the semi-finals. The second team plays the third in the other group in a pair of quarter finals with the winners going through to meet one of the table toppers in the semi-finals. The final is at Trent Bridge on Thursday 19 August.
Both the groups look competitive this year but Group A looks very tasty indeed. The 2018 winners Hampshire were beaten in the final two years ago and will be looking to regain the title here. Kent topped the South Group table in the Vitality Blast and Sussex were second to them and both are in this group. Lancashire also qualified for the quarter final of that competition and are in this group as well. The other five will all be looking to make hay in the 50 over tournament, especially as they haven’t make Division One of the County Championship either. They are Durham, Essex, Gloucestershire, Middlesex and Worcestershire.
If the betting market for this tournament is anything to go by then Group B is a bit of a tournament within itself. Nottinghamshire won the North Group in the Vitality Blast and are favourites to win this tournament while the defending champions Somerset are in here too. Warwickshire and Yorkshire have both made the latter stages of the first two competitions this season and will look to qualify from this group. Surrey are another big name in this section with the group being completed by Derbyshire, Glamorgan, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
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I’ll take a couple of sides to win this tournament this year. The first thing we have to do is work out who is most and least affected by call ups to The Hundred and then work from there. In Group A, Essex have done pretty well for themselves with only Dan Lawrence and Sam Cook having left to play in that competition. Jimmy Neesham misses the start of it but he’ll come back for the majority of it. Essex are still left with county stars such as Sir Alastair Cook, Tom Westley, Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer while solid county pros like Ryan ten Doeschate and Paul Walter are also still around. Essex have had a bit of a mare of a campaign but they are a county used to winning silverware so I expect them to target this competition and think they are the standout pick here.
In Group B a lot of the fancied runners are losing plenty of players. Nottinghamshire lose nine to The Hundred while Somerset will be without eight. Surrey lose 11 players and Warwickshire six. Yorkshire will be missing 10 players so there is a lot of upheaval in this group. That might benefit Northamptonshire who are a side who focus a lot on white ball cricket and might just see this as a door open for them even without Adam Rossington and Josh Cobb. Ricardo Vasconcelos has been their leading light this season and he is still around as are players like Rob Keogh, Saif Zaib, Ben Curran and Ben Sanderson. I really think squad quality in this competition is going to play a massive part and Northants haven’t fared too badly in that regard. I’ll play them from this group.
Back Essex to win Royal London One Day Cup (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 with Sky Bet (1/2 1-2)
Back Northamptonshire to win Royal London One Day Cup (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 19.00 with BetVictor (1/2 1-2)
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