It is the final week of the LV= County Championship with the last round of matches in both divisions getting underway on Tuesday as we determine the champions, the second team to be relegated and the team who will replace them in Division 1.
Usually we have a TV game to enjoy in the final round of the season but with an ODI on Tuesday and World Cup warm up matches at the end of the week that is not the case this year so you’ll need the county streams to keep up with everything that is happening.
Surrey will be hoping to complete the defence of their title this week but they have a tricky test against third placed Hampshire to navigate. The champions head to the Ageas Bowl knowing that they need five points to guarantee the title but Hampshire will be eager to win as they have a chance of finishing second still. Essex are the only team who can deny Surrey the title but they are going to need plenty of bonus points and to beat already relegated Northamptonshire at Wantage Road. There is still one relegation spot to be settled in Division One and with just one point separating Middlesex and Kent we could be in for some fun and games. Middlesex are in the relegation zone and travel to Trent Bridge to face Nottinghamshire while Kent host Lancashire at Canterbury knowing that they will play Division One cricket again next season with a maximum point win. Warwickshire host Somerset in a dead rubber in the other game.
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We already know that Durham are the champions of Division Two and they will play their final match in the division at home to third placed Leicestershire. Leicestershire need to overcome a 22 point deficit to Worcestershire if they are going to join Durham in the top flight next season. Worcestershire will travel to Headingley to take on bottom of the table Yorkshire needing three points to become a Division One side again. Two teams are still without a red ball win this season and they have one final chance to get one. Gloucestershire are one such side. They travel to Hove to take on Sussex while Derbyshire, the other team in that situation, make the trip to Cardiff to face a Glamorgan team who have drawn 11 of their 13 matches this term.
I’m a little bit surprised that we can get odds against on Hampshire to finish a frustrating season with a win. I get that they are at home to Surrey but at some point in the first innings Surrey are going to have the points they need to be crowned champions again and then their celebrations will begin and you would imagine Hampshire will be able to take advantage of that. Hampshire dented Essex’s title hopes last week and in James Vince and Liam Dawson they have a couple of player of the season candidates.
Surrey have been the best team this season and if they are not crowned champions this term then Hampshire will have won this match anyway but there nearly always is a letdown in this situation when a team has won the title halfway through the match, in much the same way that the team who has won the Ryder Cup sees the opponent close the score when all the winning team want to do is celebrate. Hampshire have enough in their side to take advantage and get the job done here.
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