The new county cricket season is upon us and our raft of brave writers are here to stick their heads above the parapet and predict just what will happen between now and October.
Here’s how we think things will pan out – feel free to share your predictions in the comments.
Bradley Adams – Surrey: Essex and Nottinghamshire probably closest challengers but Surrey were miles better than everyone else last season and have only strengthened. They should retain the title.
Emily Marshall – Nottinghamshire: They have got a huge amount of strength in the batting and will have Stuart Broad back for the first half of the season.
Oli Lathrope – Nottinghamshire: Holders Surrey are rightly favourites, but with James Pattinson and Stuart Broad in their side for the first half of the summer, I fancy Nottinghamshire.
Robert Sutton – Surrey: A settled side that will not be as affected by the World Cup, during which seven Championship matches will be played. Surrey once again set the standard.
Sean Brown – Essex: Third place last season showed 2017 wasn’t a one-off. Alastair Cook to score 1,800 runs and win a humdinger of a title race ahead of Surrey and Somerset.
Huw Lloyd – Nottinghamshire: Strengthened batting, Jake Ball and Stuart Broad available for most of the Championship season, Footitt fit again plus Samit Patel and Tom Moores in the middle order, makes them my pick.
Harry Everett – Nottinghamshire: It seems silly to back against Surrey, but England call-ups could dent their title defence.
Scott Hunt – Somerset: Surrey should win it again and probably will. But where’s the fun picking them? The cider will be flowing at Taunton come September 26!
Division One relegation
Bradley Adams – Kent: Heino Kuhn is an important player for Kent but it’s difficult to see them scoring consistent runs or, indeed, regularly taking 20 wickets.
Emily Marshall – Kent: They may be without Denly for some of the season due to England commitments and may struggle to stay in the top flight.
Oli Lathrope – Kent: I hate to say it, but it will probably be Kent. Warwickshire and Yorkshire could both struggle as well.
Robert Sutton – Hampshire: This will be hugely competitive with two strong sides coming up from Division Two. Hampshire have flirted with danger before and could fall through the trap door.
Sean Brown – Yorkshire: Will finally be made to pay for continued batting failures. Duanne Olivier may not be enough to fill the void left by Jack Brooks.
Huw Lloyd – Kent: I just don’t see enough strength in their squad. Matt Henry’s wickets will be sorely missed and Joe Denly and Sam Billings will miss large parts of the season. Darren Stevens wont be as potent in Division One.
Harry Everett – Yorkshire: The White Rose will miss Jack Brooks as well as Alex Lees, Andrew Hodd and Liam Plunkett.
Scott Hunt – Warwickshire: Jonathan Trott’s retirement will hit them hard and coupled with Ian Bell’s injury that will place real pressure on a relatively young batting unit.
Division Two top three
Bradley Adams – Lancashire, Sussex and Worcestershire: Joe Burns and Glenn Maxwell are huge additions for Lancashire, Sussex have basically an unchanged squad and the Gillespie factor remains huge, while Worcestershire should impress.
Emily Marshall – Lancashire, Sussex and Middlesex: Lancashire are strengthened by Keaton Jennings returning and Matt Parkinson being a top-class spinner.
Oli Lathrope – Sussex, Lancashire, Worcestershire: Sussex should have enough quality to get over the line this year. The relegated pair of Lancashire and Worcestershire look a good bet to join them.
Robert Sutton – Lancashire, Middlesex, Worcestershire: Anything less than promotion will be a serious failure for Lancashire. Worcestershire are the yo-yo club while Stuart Law looks a great appointment at Lord’s.
Sean Brown – Middlesex, Sussex, Lancashire: Middlesex to win the title by a distance, Lancs to be promoted by the skin of their teeth.
Huw Lloyd: Middlesex, Lancashire and Sussex: Middlesex’s top order of Nick Gubbins, Stevie Eskinazi, and Dawid Malan will score runs. Lancashire and Sussex to join them in promotion.
Harry Everett – Middlesex, Lancashire, Worcestershire: The top two will be miles clear, Worcestershire will just make it.
Scott Hunt: Sussex, Middlesex and Lancashire: Sussex have the quality to get the job done this year, Stuart Law will improve Middlesex while Lancashire simply have to bounce back immediately.
Bradley Adams – Glamorgan: They will benefit from Billy Root and Shaun Marsh/Marnus Labuschagne but there is little evidence that they will be any better than last season’s last-placed finish.
Emily Marshall – Glamorgan: Why change a habit of a lifetime!
Oli Lathrope – Glamorgan: Billy Root is an excellent signing, but Glamorgan look the most likely to finish bottom of the pile, again.
Robert Sutton – Derbyshire: A transitional season for Derbyshire which will see plenty of youngsters given a chance but their focus looks to be on the white-ball.
Sean Brown – Glamorgan: Tough season ahead, could get ugly.
Huw Lloyd – Glamorgan: They struggled last season and don’t feel they have as much strength as other sides who will be in and around the bottom of the Championship.
Harry Everett – Northamptonshire: It could be one of about five teams but Northants haven’t replaced Ben Duckett, Steven Crook or Richard Gleeson.
Scott Hunt – Leicestershire: Ben Raine’s return to Durham will hit them hard. In truth, there will be little to choose between a host of teams in Division Two.
Division One top run-scorer and wicket-taker
Bradley Adams: Ollie Pope (Surrey) & Sam Cook (Essex)
Emily Marshall: Alastair Cook (Essex) & Morne Morkel (Surrey)
Oli Lathrope: Dean Elgar (Surrey) & Jamie Porter (Essex)
Robert Sutton: Joe Clarke (Notts) & Henry Brookes (Warwickshire)
Sean Brown: Alastair Cook (Essex) & Morne Morkel (Surrey)
Huw Lloyd: Alastair Cook (Essex) & Morne Morkel (Surrey)
Harry Everett: James Hildreth (Somerset) & Duanne Olivier (Yorkshire)
Scott Hunt: Alastair Cook (Essex) & Morne Morkel (Surrey)
Division Two top run-scorer and wicket-taker
Bradley Adams: Phil Salt (Sussex) & Josh Tongue (Worcestershire)
Emily Marshall: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Matt Parkinson (Lancashire)
Oli Lathrope: Daryl Mitchell (Worcestershire) & Mohammad Abbas (Leicestershire)
Robert Sutton: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex)
Sean Brown: Alex Davies (Lancashire) & Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Huw Lloyd: Wayne Madsen (Derbyshire) & Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex)
Harry Everett: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex)
Scott Hunt: Nick Gubbins (Middlesex) & Tom Bailey (Lancashire)
Royal London One-Day Cup winner
Bradley Adams – Nottinghamshire: They are blessed with attacking talent and strong bowling reserves and are probably the team to beat.
Emily Marshall – Warwickshire: The Bears have some very strong players including Will Rhodes, Dom Sibley, Sam Hain and Henry Brookes who all could shine in the white-ball format.
Oli Lathrope – Worcestershire: They have reached the semi-finals in the last couple of years, and I think they will get the job done in 2019, building on their T20 Blast triumph.
Robert Sutton – Essex: Alastair Cook scored runs for fun in this competition two seasons ago when Essex reached the semis and he could inspire a run to Lord’s in 2019.
Sean Brown – Surrey: Lots of emphasis on this comp ahead of the World Cup. Surrey have the most talent and depth and will finally prevail after many past Lord’s heartbreaks.
Huw Lloyd – Nottinghamshire: They won it two seasons ago, have strengthened their white-ball batting with Ben Duckett and Ben Slater, throw in Stuart Broad as well and I think it will be their year again.
Harry Everett – Surrey: Liam Plunkett & Jordan Clark join the Curran brothers in making the best white-ball attack in the competition.
Scott Hunt – Nottinghamshire: They look a well-balanced side – explosive batting coupled with a wily bowling unit.
Vitality T20 Blast winners
Bradley Adams – Kent: The Spitfires will be a real force with Mohammad Nabi and Adam Milne bolstering an already strong side.
Emily Marshall – Sussex : They made it to the final last year and look a strong unit again.
Oli Lathrope – Sussex: Always tricky to predict. However, it is hard to look past Sussex with their bowling attack.
Robert Sutton – Somerset: So often the bridesmaids in this tournament, Somerset look well placed to end the North Group dominance at Finals Day.
Sean Brown – Sussex: Like Lancashire in 2014/15, Sussex will go one better after coming so close last year.
Huw Lloyd – Sussex: Fearsome bowling attack, fearsome batting unit: I think they will be too strong for the rest.
Harry Everett – Surrey: Jason Roy & Aaron Finch plus bowlers mentioned above – need I say more?!
Scott Hunt – Sussex: Tipped them 12 months ago and they came oh so close. They will go one better this time around.