County Championship 2013: What's at Stake for Titles, Promotion, Relegation
Both County Championship divisional titles may have been already wrapped up, but there are still some fascinating subplots waiting to unfold in this last round of games.
Durham secured the title with last week's victory over Notts and have won an incredible 10 of their 15 contests so far this campaign. Their final fixture, away at Surrey, gives them a chance to become the first side since the County Championship split into two divisions in 2000, to win 11 games in a season.
Surrey’s demotion was confirmed after their bold gambit against Warwickshire last week did not come off.
The Londoners could still have had a mathematical chance of survival if they’d let a dull inevitable draw unfold against the defending champions. However, the captains contrived a game that, if Surrey had got over the line, would have really made things interesting this week.
But the 2012 defending champions chased down the manufactured total and condemned Surrey to the bottom tier, leaving one unanswered question. Who will join them?
Will Derbyshire survive?
Second from bottom Derbyshire need to win against Warwickshire with almost full bonus points and then hope the match between YB40 champions Notts and Somerset produces an outright result.
The worry for Derbyshire is that the Notts and Somerset captains Chris Read and Marcus Trescothick will, to put it politely, be in no hurry to move their game along if the mutually beneficial survival-ensuring draw approaches.
Yorkshire have second place in the bag, but for Sussex and Warwickshire their respective matches against Durham and Derbyshire are essentially money games as both sides seek a top-four finish and a slice of the prize fund.
Derbyshire vs. Warwickshire
Notts vs. Somerset
Surrey vs. Yorkshire
Sussex vs. Durham
In the second tier, Lancashire secured their spot in Division One last week courtesy of a draw at Gloucestershire. Glenn Chapple's men still have something to play for however, with a season-long unbeaten run at stake in their final fixture at Kent.
Second-placed Northamptonshire need just five points from their trip to Worcestershire to claim their spot in the upper echelons next year. Should disaster strike for the Steelbacks, Essex would still need a very high-scoring win over Hampshire to usurp them.
Leicestershire's miserable season came to an end last week, with the county cut adrift at the bottom of the table. The Grace Road side haven't won a single Championship game this season.
Second-bottom Glamorgan, fresh from their trip to Lords in the YB40 Final, are just three points behind third from bottom Kent. So their games against Gloucestershire and Lancashire will sort that minor battle for pride.
Glamorgan vs. Gloucestershire
Hampshire vs. Essex
Kent vs. Lancashire
Worcestershire vs. Northants
Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen Ali heads county cricket's run charts with 1331 runs, while Leicestershire’s Ned Eckersley is 56 behind. A little further down the list, but not out of reach, is Wayne Madsen, Division One’s leading accumulator with 1219.
The race for leading wicket-taker is still wide open, with seven wickets separating five bowlers. The usual suspects, Graham Onions and Alan Richardson, top the list with 66 and 63 respectively, while Glamorgan’s Michael Hogan is also on 63 closely followed by compatriot Steve Magoffin on 61 and Kyle Hogg with 60.
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