DEC Writer’s 2018 Predictions

DEC Writer’s 2018 Predictions

Can Essex retain the County Championship? © Luke Adams

 

It’s that time of year again when, with the new county season fast approaching, thoughts turn to how the teams will fare and conversations are had over who will challenge for silverware. 

With that in mind, we asked some of our Deep Extra Cover reporters to share their predictions for the upcoming season, from who will be walking away with the titles, who will gain promotion and which players will have standout seasons.

Have a look at our opinions and see if you agree!

SSCC Division One Winner

Bradley Adams: Holders Essex will be tough to beat but Lancashire’s squad in all departments looks terrifying and they could very well dominate red-ball cricket this summer

Emily Marshall: Essex look to have the strongest, most balanced squad which has got a mix of both young and senior players that can challenge for the title again

Nick Sharland: Lancashire have a trio of hungry batsmen with their eye on England: Hameed, Livingstone. Their eager ambitions could spur the red rose on to glory this season

Steve Dolman: Yorkshire have recruited well and, barring injuries, and England selections will take some beating. Essex to do well but their bowlers better known this year

Ross Lawson: Lancashire were the nearly-men last year but, in Keaton Jennings and Graham Onions they’ve made shrewd signings that could take them over the line

Scott Hunt: It’s hard to win back-to-back titles but Essex have a well-balanced squad and lots of strength in depth. Yorkshire to be closest challengers

Sean Brown: If Lancashire can learn to win away from Old Trafford they’ll have a strong chance, taking 20 wickets will be the key to their chances

Lancashire are the most fancied team among our writers. Photo © Luke Adams

SSCC Division One Relegated Teams

Bradley Adams: It’s difficult to see Worcestershire being strong enough to survive and Hampshire may finally go down after three years of near misses

Emily Marshall: Believe Hampshire may struggle to keep out of relegation, especially now with the exit of George Bailey and Yorkshire haven’t been at their best for a while

Nick Sharland: I can’t see Worcestershire taking 20 wickets cheaply enough to stay up, and Somerset’s luck has to run out some time. Jack Leach could be England’s now which will hurt them

Steve Dolman: Hampshire and Worcestershire. Former need Abbott to stay fit to take wickets, while latter are young and lack sustained top level quality

Ross Lawson: I fear for Worcestershire. Steve Magoffin is a strong signing but I don’t think they have enough to be one of the six best counties.  Yorkshire will need to smart up if they don’t want to join them

Scott Hunt: It’s going to be a tough ask for Worcestershire to make the step up. The potential loss of Jack Leach to England could hit Somerset who also don’t score enough runs

Sean Brown: Leach’s England call-up could prove fatal for Somerset and Yorkshire’s batting could finally cost them after a couple of poor seasons

SSCC Division Two Winner & Promoted Team

Bradley Adams: After two years of pushing for promotion, this exciting Sussex side should be able to take the Division Two title, while Middlesex look strong candidates to bounce straight back to the top tier

Emily Marshall: Middlesex should be able to reach the top of the table in Division Two. Warwickshire, with a new captain and some fresh young talent, to challenge for second spot

Nick Sharland: Jason Gillespie is the right man to bring out the best in Sussex’s talented squad, while Middlesex are just too good to remain in the second tier for too long

Steve Dolman: Middlesex should storm it and Sussex will be a good side with Gillespie as coach for second. Expect Derbyshire to challenge if they can score enough runs

Ross Lawson: Warwickshire are too good to be in Division Two. They have the players to return without much heading out of the door. Middlesex to take second ahead of Sussex

Scott Hunt: Middlesex are too good for Division Two and Sussex have a really exciting young crop of players who can pip Warwickshire to promotion

Sean Brown: Warwickshire too strong for the second tier and Northants to make up for last season’s heartbreak. Will benefit having result pitches compared to Middlesex

Jeetan Patel backed lead to lead Warwickshire to Division One return. Photo ©Luke Adams

SSCC Division Two Wooden Spoon

Bradley Adams: An exodus of players has left Derbyshire looking thin on the ground, despite talent in their ranks, and their hopes of a successful Championship season look slender

Nick Sharland: Ke… Leicestershire. Obviously and always Leicestershire. Sorry folks – when the ECB takes 48 points off a county and they still finish above you, you’ve got your name carved on the spoon already

Steve Dolman: Hard to look beyond Leicestershire, despite Paul Nixon as coach. Gloucestershire and Glamorgan will also struggle

Ross Lawson: Normally Leicestershire would be my first choice but their signings of Michael Carberry, Ateeq Javid and Tom Taylor mean Derbyshire get this particular honour

Scott Hunt: Generally Leicestershire’s dubious honour, but really feel Glamorgan could struggle. Squad lacks quality and they’ll need to pick up points early with favourable fixtures

Sean Brown: Leicestershire. Winless in 2017 and don’t be surprised if it’s the case again

SSCC Division One Top Run Scorer & Wicket Taker 

Bradley Adams: Run-scorer: Alex Davies (Lancashire) & Wicket-taker: Ben Coad (Yorkshire)

Emily Marshall: Run-scorer: Dan Lawrence (Essex) & Wicket-taker: Jamie Porter (Essex)

Nick Sharland: Run-scorer: Gary Ballance (Yorkshire) & Wicket-taker: Kyle Abbott (Hampshire)

Steve Dolman: Run-scorer: Keaton Jennings (Lancashire) & Wicket-taker: Simon Harmer (Essex)

Ross Lawson: Run-scorer: Rory Burns (Surrey) & Wicket-taker: Simon Harmer (Essex)

Scott Hunt: Run-scorer: Nick Browne (Essex) & Wicket-taker: Ben Coad (Yorkshire)

Sean Brown: Run-scorer: Gary Ballance (Yorkshire) & Wicket-taker: Jamie Porter (Essex)

SSCC Division Two Top Run Scorer & Wicket Taker

Bradley Adams: Run-scorer: Luke Wells (Sussex) & Wicket-taker: Richard Gleeson (Northamptonshire)

Emily Marshall: Run-scorer: Ian Bell (Warwickshire) & Wicket-taker: Richard Gleeson (Northamptonshire)

Nick Sharland: Run-scorer: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Steven Finn (Middlesex)

Steve Dolman: Run-scorer: Sam Hain (Warwickshire) & Wicket-taker: Hardus Viljoen (Derbyshire)

Ross Lawson: Run-scorer: Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire) & Wicket-taker: Jeetan Patel (Warwickshire)

Scott Hunt: Run-scorer: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Wicket-taker: Liam Norwell (Gloucestershire)

Sean Brown: Run-scorer: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Wicket-taker: Jeetan Patel (Warwickshire)

RLODC Winner

Bradley Adams: After a disappointing 2017, Yorkshire have the resources to put that being them with a One-Day Cup win. Cheteshwar Pujara is a huge bonus and this side is capable of ending the club’s 16-year wait for a white-ball trophy

Emily Marshall: Worcestershire have a brilliant one-day player in Joe Clarke, a good bowling line up and always look to have all it takes to win

Nick Sharland: After a torrid 2017, Sam Hain will come good and guide Birmingham to victory in the 50-over competition. Maybe

Steve Dolman: Nottinghamshire are the team to beat, with long batting and good bowlers for the format. Somerset could be in the mix too

Ross Lawson: For three years in a row they’ve been the bridesmaids but this is Surrey’s in 2018 – providing they have their internationals at the right time

Scott Hunt: Feel it’s finally time for Surrey to get over the line in a final. They have the perfect squad for one-day formats, but Notts will again be the team to beat

Sean Brown: Notts are the strongest white-ball team in the country by a distance and cannot see anyone beating them

Vitality T20 Blast Winner

Bradley Adams: Sussex have a powerful squad of skilled white-ball batsmen, Their bowling attack with the likes of Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills is also a force to be reckoned with

Emily Marshall: Last year Birmingham came close to winning in the final with what looked to be a very strong side. Plenty of big hitters and a solid captain means the title could once again be back at Edgbaston!

Nick Sharland: Sussex. There’s just something about Jason Gillespie and blue teams in Twenty20 competitions. They also have an excellent squad for this format

Steve Dolman: Nottinghamshire, with Surrey challenging, having both recruited well. Just think Notts have an excellent coach and a strong squad

Ross Lawson: Sussex. Jofra Archer. Chris Jordan. Rashid Khan. Tymal Mills. Need I say any more?

Scott Hunt: Sussex. Jason Gillespie as coach, plus a bowling attack featuring Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills and Rashid Khan – to name but a few. Enough said

Sean Brown: There’s a good chance Derbyshire could go one better than their quarter-final appearance last year. Will miss Imran Tahir, however

Player to Watch

Bradley Adams: As England discovered in the winter, leg-spin is a difficult skill, especially at a young age. But Lancashire’s Matt Parkinson is making his way there. His development is worth watching

Emily Marshall: Josh Tongue (Worcestershire). Aged just 19 he played a big role in Worcestershire’s promotion last season and I think he can play a big role in keeping them up with his genuine pace

Nick Sharland: I’m excited about Rashid Khan coming to Sussex for the T20 Blast, but in terms of domestic players I would love to see Dan Lawrence (Essex) have a great year

Steve Dolman: Matt Critchley (Derbyshire). Seriously talented, clean hitter, useful leggie and brilliant in the field. Future England player

Ross Lawson: Still only 20, Dom Bess (Somerset) already has five-wicket innings and ten-wicket match hauls with the ball. He has also learnt how to hold a bat – scoring 107 against Essex for the MCC

Scott Hunt: Jack Leach’s involvement with England will force 20-year-old Dom Bess to step up and lead Somerset’s spin attack. He’s had a superb winter and is developing into a terrific all-rounder

Sean Brown: It is Joe Clarke’s (Worcestershire) season to come of age and playing in Division One should only accelerate the matter. He has bags of talent and expect him to be in England colours in the next couple of years.

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