Rob Handley looks at the County Championship and gives us his pick to win the competition
Middlesex v Yorkshire, 10:30 Sky Sports 1 HD
The County Championship Division One race has been a fascinating battle as the final game of the season will decide who lifts the trophy. Somerset, Middlesex and Yorkshire will all fancy their chances, with the latter two playing each other at Lord’s on Tuesday. Whilst the situation gets a bit complicated with bonus points involved the upshot of the potential outcomes are as follows; If Middlesex beat Yorkshire they’ll win the title and vice versa, providing Yorkshire match the number of points Somerset earn against Nottinghamshire. Somerset will need Yorkshire and Middlesex to draw that game and 23 points to be champions.
Middlsex are the team in possession, sitting top of the pile with 213 points and know a win against Yorkshire will see them lift trophy for the first time since 1993. They are yet to lose a game this season, though 10 draws is a cause for concern in this situation.
Yorkshire are chasing their third title in three years, which would be a fitting send off for their coach Jason Gillespie. The ability and experience of winning titles is in the Northern camp, with a whole host of international talent in their ranks though bizarrely, the ECB have declined to let Jonny Bairstow play and Adil Rashid has requested to be rested. The return fixture saw Middlesex hammer Yorkshire by an innings and 4 runs, though I can’t see this game panning out in similar fashion.
Somerset’s settled side throughout the season has helped them come on strong late in the season who at 9/4, are as likely to lift the trophy as Yorkshire according to the bookies. You’d expect them to beat Nottinghamshire comfortably at Taunton and I do expect them to get the 23 points they require to win the division.
Whilst the weather in London tomorrow doesn’t look overly cricket friendly, the rest of the game should be unaffected, which should give time for a result. There is quality in every squad involved, though two championships in two years along with good records in the white ball competitions this term are pushing me towards Yorkshire to do the business when it matters.