It is the penultimate week of the County Championship season and still we don’t know who will be crowned champions in either division or who will be relegated so we are set for an exciting couple of weeks with which to conclude the season.
The start of those two weeks comes on Monday when the latest set of matches begin and we may well find out the answer to who will win the second division this week at least. With seven matches on the schedule it is set to be a great week especially with the weather improving again.
There are three matches in this division this week with Durham taking on Surrey at the Riverside, Lancashire hosting title chasing Middlesex at Old Trafford and the other title chasers Yorkshire and Somerset going head to head at Headingley.
Middlesex head into the week with a one point lead over Yorkshire and they meet them in what is increasingly looking like a title decider next week. Somerset are 22pts behind and are hoping to take advantage of any Middlesex slip up. Both matches are priced accordingly and there isn’t much in the way of value so I’ll leave them alone.
I will bet in the other match though which sees Durham in desperate need of a win to avoid relegation when they take on a Surrey side who are playing for nothing having secured their safety and being too far away from winning the title.
Durham have been given a boost this week with the news that Ben Stokes and Mark Wood have been made available. Their impact on this Durham side can’t be overstated. Wood is probably the best bowler in the country at the minute and when you need someone to deal with Jason Roy, Kumar Sangakkara et al he could be vital and we all know what Stokes brings.
Surrey look competitive with the bat with Roy back in the ranks but they never really threatened to bowl Hampshire out until they launched a full on assault to set up a declaration last week and that does concern me here. I don’t think runs will come easily for Surrey against this very strong looking Durham attack and given that they have to win I think there is enough motivation for them to merit support at 10/11.
Four matches begin in this division on Monday with all eyes being on Chelmsford where Essex need five points out of their match with Glamorgan to be crowned champions. Sussex face Worcestershire at Hove while Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire meet at Northampton in two of the other matches. Derbyshire and Leicestershire do battle at Derby in the final game.
Essex are a very short price but I’ve no interest in backing them because they can get the five points they need in bonus points alone and once they have them banked it will surely be party time. The likelihood of that happening early in the piece puts me off the other matches as well because with just one promotion spot up for grabs this season every other match becomes a dead rubber once the title is sealed.
With that in mind I’m going to take it fairly easy this week and just go with the one bet from the top flight to keep us interested from a betting point of view.
WON – Back Durham to beat Surrey for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral