The penultimate round of the LV= County Championship last week decided all of the main positions in Division One, with Warwickshire confirmed as champions and Lancashire and Worcestershire the two sides relegated. However, Kent’s defeat of Derbyshire threw the race for Division Two promotion wide open, while Gloucestershire’s win over Northamptonshire made the battle to avoid the wooden spoon a three-way one. We take a look at all of the permutations and team news ahead of the final round of matches.
Durham v Sussex at Chester-le-Street
The home side have added Mark Wood to the eleven that drew against Lancashire a fortnight ago, with Phil Mustard set to break Jon Lewis’ record of 146 first-class appearances when he take so the field. Sussex will be captained by Chris Nash, as Ed Joyce is away with Ireland, and are also without Murray Goodwin, Luke Wright, Matt Prior and Amjad Khan, meaning that there are opportunities for Will Adkin, Joe Gatting, Chris Liddle and Matt Machan.
Lancashire v Surrey at Liverpool
The relegated home side are already looking to the future with the selection of 18 year-old wicket-keeper Alex Davies in a 13-man squad. Glen Chapple will skipper the side. Surrey have rested Murali Kartik and Kevin Pietersen for what is essentially a dead game, while Gary Wilson has linked up with Ireland ahead of the World Twenty20. Matt Dunn, George Edwards and Tom Jewell come into the squad, while Steve Davies returns in place of Wilson.
Nottinghamshire v Warwickshire at Trent Bridge
Newly-crowned County Champions Warwickshire have named a strong 12-man squad for their final four-day game of the season. Tim Ambrose is ruled out with a thigh injury, although Chris Woakes is available after returning from ODI duty with England. Jonathan Trott will not be available for this match or the Clydesdale Bank 40 final on Saturday, but fellow England Test player Ian Bell is expected to play in the latter.
Somerset v Worcestershire at Taunton
The home side are one of a number of teams battling for second in the final table and welcome back leading run-scorer Nick Compton from his back problem. Steve Kirby and Sajid Mahmood both have injury concerns but are expected to be available for selection and have been included in a 12-man squad.
Derbyshire v Hampshire at Derby
Both teams are in with at least a mathematical chance of promotion, with Hampshire needing to pick up all 24 points from the fixture and hope that Yorkshire fail to get even one at Chelmsford. Derbyshire know that a win would pretty much guarantee them top spot, while a draw or even defeat may be enough depending on results elsewhere. Hampshire are without Dimitri Mascarenhas (injured), Danny Briggs (England) and Simon Katich (rested), with Hamza Riazuddin, Bilal Shafayat and Chris Wood all included in a 13-man squad.
Essex v Yorkshire at Chelmsford
Maurice Chambers joins David Masters on the injury list, meaning that Tymal Mills has been named in the starting eleven. Yorkshire are just a point behind Derbyshire at the top of the table and have named a strong squad which includes both spinners, Azeem Rafiq and Adil Rashid, as well as back-up seamer Oliver Hannon-Dalby.
Glamorgan v Kent at Cardiff
Glamorgan are one of those sides hoping to avoid the wooden spoon and have named Robert Croft in their squad for a farewell outing. David Lloyd is again included despite making a pair on his first-class debut last week. Kent are one of the three sides in with a realistic shot at promotion and are pretty much certain to need a win to have any chance of going up – even then they have to hope that either Derbyshire or Yorkshire fail to win.
Leicestershire v Gloucestershire at Grace Road
The Foxes have rested Ramnaresh Sarwan as they battle to avoid a last-place finish. Three spinners – Claude Henderson, Jigar Naik and James Sykes – are included in the 14-man squad. Ed Cowan will again play for Gloucestershire, but Ian Saxelby continues to be sidelined through injury.
Weather Forecast: Although mostly dry, tomorrow will see the showers return for the midlands. Otherwise there will be patchy cloud interspersed with sunny spells. Temperatures will peak at between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius.
© Cricket World 2012
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