The Season’s Here!

And about time too!  The sight of a sun-drenched Kia Oval outfield yesterday evening was truly a pleasure to behold, lowering the blood pressure and reminding Yates that it won’t be long before the County Championship starts.  Ah, the County Championship.  Where cricketers from England and all over the world have started, continued and completed their cricketing education, many going on to perform with honours and records at the highest level.

You know, the one that’s supposedly watched by a few men and their dogs.


There’s a lot to like in the County Championship.  It is an arena of education for both player and spectator, where each can learn something about themselves, the game and maybe about life in general.  Cricket has much to teach us, whatever our age and stage in life.  If you haven’t read George Dobell’s excellent piece We Underestimate County Cricket At Our Peril then please do.  The County Championship is the bedrock of our game.  It doesn’t need deriding or buggering about with (do you hear me David Morgan?), it needs supporting.

Please go and watch some County Championship games this season.  Last season’s climax was wonderful for Surrey supporters.  Who knows, this season could have such finishes ahead for your teams.

Expectations For This Season

I’d like to see some strong performances from Surrey in Division 1 of the County Championship this year.  As Chris Adams and Alec Stewart reminded us at the Surrey CCC AGM last night, this is still a young team.  They will have match winning moments and moments where that doesn’t quite happen. But the talent is there for sure.  Staying in Division 1 would be nice, being in the top four would be nicer still.  The difference in balls may well be important.  Smutty jokes aside, the Duke ball doesn’t do as much as the Tiflex ball, as Ravi Bopara famously tweeted last season.

The CB40 and FLT20 tournaments will be challenging again.  Surrey are defending CB40 champions but that doesn’t mean there are many easy games out there.  Competition will be hard in both tournaments.  I’d like to see at least semi-final places for Surrey.

The fight to get out of Division 2 may well be as tough and close as it was last season.  Gut reactions are that there will be three teams fighting for promotion: Northants, Kent and Yorkshire.  President Boycott may well have plenty to say, as well as Colin Graves.  Just as it was last season, the promotion battle could be decided by a shrewd piece of business by a county coach.

Lancashire and Warwickshire are favourites for the Championship and rightly so.  Much as Yates feels for the county of his birth, gut reaction says the Red Rose county could well make it two in a row.  Nothing to say on who will be fighting the drop this season because Yorkshire would never have entered Yates’ thoughts as relegation candidates.

Sentimental things for this season:  Yates would love to see Somerset win something this year.  Hopefully not at Surrey’s expense though 🙂  More centuries for Mark Ramprakash, better consistency from the dynamite of Jason Roy and Tom Maynard and the return to full fitness and finger breaking bounce of the mighty Chris Tremlett.

Yates wishes all counties and their fans a good season.  Play hard and play fair.  And please, don’t chase the wide ones 🙂

2 thoughts on “The Season’s Here!”

  1. It would be great if spectator numbers could go up again this season following last season’s 9% increase wouldn’t it?

    I’m not sure that Northants will feature as strongly this year. Both divisions will be using the duke ball, which stays harder for longer than the tiflex (hope that helped the smut 🙂 ). Northants were frequently 5 down for not a lot and their tail relished batting once the hardness had gone from the tiflex, making the spinners and seamers less effective.

    It’d be great if Kent could go up, I’m not sure that the DPRY (yorkshire) can be strong all year round, but it’ll be great to see the effect that Dizzy has on Ajmal Shahzad.

    Would love to see Essex up there challenging for promotion, but that’ll depend on making a good start without our international batsmen in the 1st half of the championship campaign.

    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks for dropping by. There’s no logic to my predictions, just a gut feeling. In terms of value for money county memberships are pretty good and I would always recommend them. Another 9 or 10 per cent coming through the gates would be good news for all clubs.

      I felt for Northants at the end of last season, being so cruelly denied primarily by Pragyan Ojha’s bowling and the Div 2 batsmen not having much clue against him. If the mighty Vaas is his usual excellent self then I think they’re in with a chance.

      I hope the new coaches at Kent and Yorkshire will have a positive effect, especially Dizzy in the Yorkies’ bowling department. Kent’s building a team with players who have things to prove could be a masterstroke. Pity that David Balcombe has gone back to Hampshire after his loan spell at Kent, he looked very lively.

      I expect everyone’s hoping for a good start to the county season after a pretty awful winter. Let’s hope for some excellent cricket for us to enjoy!

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