Home / Cricket / County Championship Division Two: Spitfires and Eagles Fly High

County Championship Division Two: Spitfires and Eagles Fly High

Embed from Getty Images

With only one team getting promoted this season, the fight for the top spot in Division Two has become even more competitive. While last season’s relegated sides, Sussex and Worcester, aren’t dominated as they would have expected, a rejuvenated Kent, Essex and Leicestershire are making a bid for promotion to Division One.

The competitiveness of Division Two is highlighted by the fact that leaders Kent have only won two games. Despite the retirement of club stalwart Rob Key, Kent are putting together one of their best seasons in years. As well as having the likes of James Tredwell, Joe Denly and Darren Stevens, who have a vast amount of experience in County Cricket, the London side also have one of the world’s best young bowlers, South African Kagiso Rabada in their ranks.

While Kent are the pace setter, Essex are just four points behind them with a game in hand. The Eagles have benefited from Alistair Cook’s availability for large chunks of the season, while Tom Westley and Ravi Bopara have been in good form. Essex have also benefited from the experience of wicket keeper James Foster, who nearly left the club at the end of last season. If they can keep up their good form and put a recent defeat to Leicestershire behind them, they will be hopeful of returning to the top division next season.

Gloucestershire had an excellent season in limited overs cricket last season, winning the Royal London One Day Cup. However, this season they have re-emerged as a force in the four day game. Lead by inspirational captain Michael Klinger, Gloucester are currently third in the table, just six points behind Kent with a game in hand. They will be hoping their experience of winning silverware last season will give them the edge over their rivals as they look to secure top spot and return to the top division.

Leicestershire had been a joke in the Championship in recent years, but this year they have transformed from perennial strugglers to promotion candidates. The Foxes currently sit fourth, with two wins to their name so far this season. New signings Paul Horton and Mark Pettini have strengthened the batting, while Clint McKay has been a revelation with the ball. Although they are currently breathing down Kent’s necks, Leicester may well see any title challenge this year as a bonus, and will hope the experience stands them in good stead next year for an all-out assault on promotion.

Last year’s relegated sides Sussex and Worcestershire have had a disappointing season, and currently find themselves fifth and sixth respectively, with just one win each. While Worcester have an excellent group of young players, including Joe Clarke and Brett D’Oliveria, they have failed to find the consistency to mount a title challenge. Despite having a strong line-up on paper, Sussex’s bowling has left much to be desired so far this season, and although they remain unbeaten, they only have one win to their name. If there were two promotion spots it would still be very possible for Sussex to get promoted, but with only the team topping the table getting promoted, it looks as though they could be stuck in Division Two for another year.

With Leicestershire surprising many at the right end of the table, this season it looks as though a new team will pick up the wooden spoon. Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Glamorgan have all had disappointing seasons and are currently fighting it out at the bottom.

Derbyshire are currently third bottom, but this season has been a turbulent one for them so far. They are yet to win a game, have had multiple batting collapses, and recently parted company with their coach Graeme Welsh. Northamptonshire are also struggling, despite the excellence of opener Ben Duckett, who has been linked with an England call-up. Losing David Willey to Yorkshire has left their bowling looking somewhat weaker, and they have struggled to be effective with the ball so far this season.

Rock bottom are Glamorgan, without a win all season and with three defeats to their name in the seven matches they have played. Despite having a Test ground, the Welsh side have not been able to capitalise on the extra income and after years of struggling, look set to prop up the table this year. While there are still plenty of games left, the Dragons will need to vastly improve their performance if they are to finish the season in a respectable position.

With the season currently approaching the half way point, there is still all to play for. However, with the league table as it is, The Sports Lowdown is currently predicting that Essex will win promotion to Division One, with Glamorgan finishing at the bottom of the table.

Division Two

About Ryan Caunt

Check Also

Alt="Joshua Kimmich celebrates his goal"

Joshua Kimmich: Football’s Next Big Thing?

  Bayern Munich have an appetite for developing fresh, young talent into world-class footballers and ...