While the stars of English cricket are getting prepared to compete in The Hundred, the county 50 over competition gets underway on Tuesday when the Royal London One Day Cup starts. This has become a bit of a forgotten tournament but still produced some good cricket last year and allowed from fresh faces to emerge.
Glamorgan certainly won’t have forgotten about the tournament as it was they who ended their barren trophy spell when they won the competition last year. The Welsh outfit will be out to make a successful defence of their trophy.
2021 – Glamorgan
2019 – Somerset
2018 – Hampshire
2017 – Nottinghamshire
2016 – Warwickshire
2015 – Gloucestershire
2014 – Durham
2013 – Nottinghamshire
2012 – Hampshire
2011 – Surrey
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 we saw used in the Vitality Blast. 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 Saturday 17 September.
Group A looks like something of a heavyweight group this season with the beaten finalists of a year ago in it in the form of Durham. County powerhouses Nottinghamshire and Surrey are also in this group although they will be missing a host of players due to The Hundred. Warwickshire are another with a decent pedigree but they’ll also be missing players. Somerset were at Vitality Blast finals day and were the last winners of this competition prior to Covid so they’ll want to go well. The other four counties in this group are Gloucestershire, Leicestershire, Middlesex and Sussex who will all be looking to make up for disappointing 20 over campaigns.
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There is no shortage of talent in Group B either and it is where Glamorgan will attempt to defend their title from. They face some stiff competition in the form of the two Vitality Blast finalists Hampshire and Lancashire, the former of whom could yet deliver a clean sweep of trophies this season. Yorkshire were beaten semi-finalists at the Vitality Blast finals day while Essex and Derbyshire both lost out in the quarter finals. Kent, Northamptonshire and Worcestershire will look to make up for missing out on the knockout stages of the 20 over competition.
I’m not usually one for backing defending champions to win a tournament because it is very rare that you see a title defended successfully, however this is slightly different because while many other counties are losing players left, right and centre, that isn’t the case with Glamorgan who only lose Michael Hogan. That isn’t to say that he won’t be missed because he will but the key thing for me is that Glamorgan have an ultra-powerful batting unit, which would have been competitive in a full strength competition let alone one where so many teams are missing some big talent.
The concern might be their bowling attack but they don’t lack for options and the longer we go into this competition and they play on dry and used wickets the more their slow and spin options will come into play. I don’t really see a team in this competition who are a standout with the ball as The Hundred squads have inevitably taken all the top bowlers out of the tournament. Glamorgan if anything are still stronger overall with the ball because although they’ve lost the services of Hogan, they have Timm van der Gugten and Dan Douthwaite available this year after they failed to get Hundred deals while Prem Sisodiya and Jamie McIlroy have come through since them. Importantly they have an overseas player which a fair few teams don’t have. Colin Ingram is a very good one too and with David Lloyd and Chris Cooke available this season this looks a stronger Glamorgan side than the one which won the title last year. They look overpriced at 20/1.
Back Glamorgan to win Royal London One Day Cup for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 with Betway