After a disappointing 2011 season Essex have moved quickly ahead of the new season by signing Greg Smith from Derbyshire and extending the contracts of three current players: David Masters, Ben Foakes and Reece Topley.
Former England opener Marcus Trescothick has held off stiff competition to win the FTI Most Valuable Player award following a string of impressive performances.
The Somerset captain is the first player in the county game to lift the award twice after also getting his hands on the title in 2009.
In spite of the 2011 season being barely finished and far from forgotten, the ECB have announced the draw for the 2012 Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.
The Netherlands, Scotland and Unicorns are allocated to group A, B and C respectively with the rest of the places decided by a free draw.
Stephen Moore takes the award after his final session heroics at Taunton helped Lancashire chase down the 211 they needed to take the title.
His 71 from only 55 balls followed his first innings 68 and was played under extreme pressure as, by that stage, Warwickshire had already shook hands on a draw at The Rose Bowl, meaning that Lancashire's seven-runs-an-over target was all that they needed to take county cricket's ultimate prize.
Surrey condemned Somerset to a fifth second place finish in a county competition in two years with a comfortable five wicket victory at Lord's in the final of the Clydesdale Bank 40. Somerset's day started well when they won the toss on a fairly flat, albeit worn, Lord's pitch, but soon went downhill from there as they slumped to 79 for five in the 18th over.
Lord's plays host for the final day of the county season as it welcomes Surrey and Somerset to contest the final of the Clydesdale Bank 40. In what used to be the showcase event of the season, Surrey will be hoping to add to their Championship success with some silverware, while Somerset will just be trying not to finish second.
Hampshire have begun preparing for life in Division Two of the LV= County Championship by signing Australian batsman Simon Katich ahead of the new season. He has signed a one-year deal with the club and will be returning to familiar territory having played at The Rose Bowl between 2003 and 2005.
Lancashire finally ended their 77-year wait for County Championship glory with a thrilling win over Somerset in the final session at Taunton. Steven Croft cracked the winning boundary through point to spark scenes of utter jubilation and end the painful wait for a County Championship title; at which point the small band of travelling supporters erupted into scenes of delirious joy as they could finally utter the words Lancashire and County Champions in the same sentence for the first time in a generation.
Lancashire won their first Championship title in 77 years by beating Somerset in the final session at Taunton. Somerset were bowled out for 310 in their second innings, meaning that Lancashire needed just 211 to win, which they knocked off for the loss of only two wickets.
Warwickshire's hopes had ended just after tea on the final day of their match against a relegated Hampshire at The Rose Bowl after they could only take four Royals wickets all day thanks to centuries from Michael Carberry and Neil McKenzie.
On the penultimate day of action in the LV= County Championship, Surrey cemented their promotion to Division One at the expense of Hampshire; Northamptonshire completed victory over Gloucestershire; and Middlesex went a step closer to being crowned Division Two champions following an excellent day against Leicestershire.
Of the title challengers, Durham were eliminated from the race by events at The Rose Bowl; while Warwickshire emerged as slight favourites in what is now a two-way battle with Lancashire. We round up the day's events below.
All three of the title challengers kept themselves in the hunt for the trophy with solid days against Hampshire, Somerset and Worcestershire. Elsewhere, Northamptonshire look set for victory over Gloucestershire and Surrey are well poised to confirm their promotion with a win over Derbyshire. We round up all the day's action below.
The title race was no closer to being decided after the opening day of matches in the final round of the LV= County Championship, as title challengers Warwickshire, Lancashire and Durham all enjoyed reasonably good days, without doing anything spectacular, in their fixtures.
There is really only one winner of the Cricket World County Player of the Week this week. Simon Kerrigan returned season-best figures of nine for 51 to bowl Lancashire to victory against Hampshire and keep them in the Championship title race on the final day at The Rose Bowl. He preceded this with three wickets in the first innings to give him career-best match figures of 12 for 192.
As the LV= County Championship enters its final furlong, three teams are still in the hunt for the title. Warwickshire are the team with their destiny solely in their own hands as they know that securing 22 or more points against Hampshire will see the championship pennant fluttering at Edgbaston in 2012. Meanwhile, Lancashire must do as well as possible at Taunton and hope for the best (or worst depending on your allegiance)at The Rose Bowl, while Durham need to win and hope that the aforementioned two either lose or draw if they are to have a chance at a third title in four years.
Somerset's championship hopes ended with a defeat to Yorkshire, while Lancashire and Warwickshire ensured that the title race will go into the last round of matches with wins over Hampshire and Nottinghamshire.
Warwickshire, Surrey, Sussex and Middlesex all had the better of the third day's play in their LV= County Championship matches against Nottinghamshire, Essex, Worcestershire and Glamorgan respectively.
Glamorgan have confirmed that Mark Wallace will be their club captain for the 2012 season. He will replace Alviro Petersen who has returned to South Africa and has endured a mixed season at the helm of the Welsh club.
The penultimate round of matches in the LV= County Championship kicked off today and it was a good day for title challengers Lancashire and Warwickshire as both put in good performances with the bat. In the day's other games, there was a century for Wes Durston and six wickets for Graham Napier.