A preview of the first round of County Championship matches?

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2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

Don’t expect us to ever do this again – and not just because the competition will, by definition, be moving onto the second round of matches next week.

Essex v Lancashire

This is the only one anyone really cares about, because everyone supports Lancashire. That’s what our empathy tells us. It tells us that if we were in your position, we’d support Lancashire. Why would we support someone else just because we were in your position? What would that change?

The big news is of course that The Great Neil Wagner will not be playing for Lancashire this season, which will be a tremendous loss. The situation is compounded this first week by the fact that he’s playing for Essex instead. All of Essex’s wicket-taking bowlers have retired due to acute old age, so they’ll need him.

Lancashire meanwhile might have Jimmy Anderson at their disposal. We can’t remember. We read which matches he was likely to be playing somewhere, but honestly, who can keep track of that stuff?

Prediction: Lancashire can’t lose because Shivnarine Chanderpaul is playing for them.

Yorkshire v Hampshire

Yorkshire may or may not have Australia’s Peter Handscomb playing for them. Honestly, who can keep track of these things?

South Africa’s B-team have some Hampshire players making up the numbers. They may or may not have George Bailey playing for them too. Honestly, who can keep track of these things.

Prediction: Either team could lose as neither has Shivnarine Chanderpaul playing for them.

Surrey v Warwickshire

It’s a surprising-but-true fact that Surrey remain a first division side. They have signed Durham’s top order to try and extend that unlikely record for another year.

The Warwickshire side increasingly comprises high-achieving available-for-all-matches county stalwarts like Keith Barker, Rikki Clarke, Jeetan Patel, Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott. You’d think they’d win more than they actually do.

Prediction: Either team could lose as neither has Shivnarine Chanderpaul playing for them.


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  1. Good to see you’re taking this as seriously as ever, KC; I’ve come to rely on such half-arsed indifference each year as much, if not more than, the changin’ o’ t’seasons and the rise and fall of the tide – this must mean it’s time for the inaugural grass cutting of 2017.

    Don’t forget that, for King Cricket CBA Cup (and to a lesser extent, potential real-cash-money-winning) purposes, all second-division runs, wickets, catches, economy rates, getting-on-with-it/six-hitting etc etc. count equally this term. I assume this subtle change won’t affect the total ignoring of the lower leagues on these pages.

    One thing which infuriates me, and this year even more so than before, is why there are only three matches in each division in the opening round. They’ve even rearranged the entire structure to mean that everyone could play each week by virtue of the 8- and 10-team make-up of the divisions, but still no… almost as if those arranging such things didn’t have a clue what they were doing…

    1. Middlesex have got more important things to do; specifically going to Fenners and playing a spot of cricket with the students.

      Besides, the county champions have already won a first class fixture this season, against the might of the MCC and its sway over all of the other counties.

      Spring is here, spring is here,
      Life is skittles and life is beer…

      1. Thought I’d take the short schlepp to Fenners on Saturday. Sight screen shuffle in the pavilion with beer in hand.

  2. Jimmy is supposed to play, I believe.

    The Guardian’s season preview suggests that Lancs will struggle, and furthermore contains the unforgivable line “…the arrivals of the 42-year-old Shiv Chanderpaul and the South African keeper Dane Vilas, both on Kolpak deals, prompted a collective groan”. The sound I made when I heard about Shiv was not a groan.

      1. I think i speak for us all when I say: eugh, nasty. KC’s groan of elation is not something I ever want to think about again

  3. Leicestershire start season on minus 16 points, £5k fine & Mark Cosgrove banned for one match for five disciplinary incidents in 12 months

    1. Shreck suspended for two games by Leics, also.

      “We’ve got to get better be be more disciplined – 16 points is a big deal to us. It’s a game,” Cosgrove told BBC Radio Leicester.

      Can’t help but admire the big man’s optimism there.

    2. Durham to get promoted after every second division county picks up a point penalty at some point or other.

  4. Win the toss. Bowl. Lose. Take the drugs. Lose. Death.

    The relegation fight starts here.

    Come on you Bears.

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