The ECB has announced the fixtures for the 2014 county season, with LV= County Championship winners Durham kicking things off with the now customary trip to the UAE from the 23rd March for a floodlit four-day game against the MCC.
Durham and Sussex players travelled to Buckingham Palace to pick up their Lord's and Lady Taverners Trophies, the official names for the prizes awarded to the men's and women's LV= County Championship winners.
There has been plenty of action off the field since the county cricket season ended last week. The most notable news is that Jos Buttler has signed for Lancashire and Will Smith has moved from Durham to Hampshire.
Claiming the LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player of the Year award puts Rory Burns in the esteemed company of last season’s inaugural winner Joe Root - and the Surrey man now aims to continue following in the England batsman’s path.
The opening day of the final round of matches in this season's LV= County Championship saw relegation candidates Derbyshire hold their own against Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire take the upper hand in their key match against Somerset.
The final day of matches in the penultimate round of this season's LV= County Championship saw much decided, with Surrey relegated, Yorkshire securing second, Lancashire crowned Division Two champions and Northamptonshire within spitting distance of promotion.
Durham were crowned County Champions amidst the showers on another rain-hit day in the LV= County Championship's 19th round. Elsewhere, Northamptonshire and Essex advanced their promotion hopes, while Surrey contrived to set up a run chase at Edgbaston.
The top of Division One of the LV= County Championship went a long way towards being settled today, with the likely finishing order now Durham, Yorkshire and Middlesex. The former are probably about 90 minutes away from securing the title, while Yorkshire have taken control over Middlesex. Elsewhere, Essex, Hampshire and Surrey enjoyed good days, while promotion hopefuls Northamptonshire struggled against Kent.
Matches in the LV= County Championship were again heavily affected by the English autumnal weather, with day three of the fixture at Lord’s between Middlesex and Nottinghamshire seeing no play at all due to rain.
Essex, Lancashire, Hampshire, Yorkshire, Somerset and Nottinghamshire all enjoyed good second days to their eighteenth round LV= County Championship matches as the rain largely stayed away to allow more play than was the case on day one.
Rain affected every single one of the day's LV= County Championship matches to some degree. What play there was saw the batsmen struggle for fluency for the most part, with Surrey finding it particularly hard going in their relegation clash at Taunton.
An astonishing blitzkrieg assault from Ben Wright and Jim Allenby was the difference between the sides as Glamorgan booked their place in the Yorkshire Bank 40 final at the expense of defending champions Hampshire.
There were wins for Middlesex, Essex, Durham, Gloucestershire and Kent as the 17th round of matches in the LV= County Championship began to draw to a close as the teams rushed things to a conclusion with an eye on tomorrow’s abysmal weather forecast.