Stephen Cook struggled his way to runs at Indian all-rounder Axar Patel is also a new addition. Not quite the prolific strike bowler he once was - a County Championship-leading 83 wickets at Expect that to improve further with something to play for this season.
The year-old captain rolled back the years in , scoring 1, runs at Arguably he'd look better placed back in the England middle-order than some younger pretenders do right now. Likely to hover around the middle of the pack once again.
The make-up of the side looks practically the same, just with stylish, overseas left-handed batsmen swapped out - veteran South Africa skipper Jacques Rudolph makes way for Australia's Shaun Marsh. Michael Hogan takes over as club captain. It's a familiar story, with the year-old veteran seamer still very much leading the attack in Cardiff, as well as now the team itself.
He took 50 wickets at just With Rudolph retired, the run-scoring responsibility lies with the left-handed overseas batsman who replaces him. Marsh struggled in Australia's recent Test series in South Africa, failing to score a fifty across eight innings', but he was utterly dominant against England in the Ashes over the winter, smashing runs at an average of There is concern surrounding Kent's upcoming season, given homegrown star batsman Sam Northeast has left for Hampshire belying the team's ambition.
Not necessarily a direct replacement for Northeast, but the arrival of South African opener Heino Kuhn isn't hugely inspired, especially given his struggles in the Test series in England last summer - runs at an average of The appointment of Sam Billings as club captain could certainly be a masterstroke though, providing the year-old with some greater responsibility - leadership and run-scoring wise - in Northeast's absence.
As for the bowling, New Zealand quick Matt Henry arrives on an overseas deal. Incredibly, the evergreen Stevens finished the season as the second-highest wicket-taker in Division Two - his 62 strikes earned at an average of Will be heavily relied upon again.
Someone needs to step up in Northeast's absence, and there will be hope that it's another homegrown talent of theirs in Bell-Drummond. Talked up as a possible England hopeful before a disastrous season saw him average only Vital he returns to the kind of form that saw him score a century against the touring Aussies in A bowling attack that was in much need of strengthening has certainly been added to.
But, will the additions be successful ones? And who is scoring the runs. Fellow countryman Duanne Olivier is another new arrival, on a standard overseas deal. In other news, former England U19 captain Shiv Thakor has been sacked by the club after being found guilty of indecent exposure and has been put on the sex offenders register for five years. The Proteas pacer managed only five games in the first year of his three-year deal, but what an impact he made, taking 24 wickets at He took 15 of those in one game, so Sussex certainly won't be relishing the prospect of facing him again.
The county captain has proven to be a dependable run-getter at the top of the order since his arrival from Essex in Also expect Wayne Madsen to bounce back after a down year in This Gloucestershire team looks desperately thin, in both the batting and bowling departments. Set to take a step, or several, back. Not a huge amount. Gloucestershire haven't really strengthened, and they've lost a key component of their campaign in Australian opener Cameron Bancroft - runs at He first left for Somerset and has since been handed a nine-month suspension by Cricket Australia after his role in the ball-tampering episode.
What a the seamer had - firing his way to 59 wickets at a staggering It is difficult to know when the concept of a county championship originated. While early matches were often between teams named after counties, they were not the club teams the usage would imply today. Rowland Bowen states in his history that the earliest usage of the term "County Championship" occurred in re a match between Kent and Nottingham Cricket Club which for the purposes of that match was called Nottingham shire.
The earliest known inter-county match was in between Kent and Surrey but match results are unknown until the s. Kent won by an unknown margin and the source states that "this was the third time this summer that the Kent men have been too expert for those of Sussex".
The clearly implication is that Kent was considered to be the champion county at that time. The following year, Gage's Sussex team "turned the scales" and defeated Kent, prompting a source to remark that " the scale of victory for some years past has been generally on the Kentish side". Inter-county cricket was popular throughout the 18th century although the best team, such as Kent in the s or Hampshire in the days of the Hambledon Club , was usually acknowledged as such by being matched against an "All England" team.
There were a number of contemporary allusions to the best county including some in verse, such as one by a Kent supporter celebrating a victory over Hampshire in terms of " we shall bring down the pride of the Hambledon Club". Analysis of 18th century matches has identified a number of strong teams who actually or effectively proclaimed their temporal superiority. But there was often a crossover between town and county with some strong local clubs tending at times to represent a whole county.
Examples are London , which often played against county teams and was in some respects almost a county club in itself; Slindon , which was for a few years in the s effectively representative of Sussex as a county; Dartford , often representative of Kent; and the Hambledon Club , certainly representative of Hampshire and also perhaps of Sussex.
Other good county teams in the 18th century were Berkshire , Essex and Middlesex. Using the same sort of reverse analysis, it is possible to compile a list of the most competitive teams from the recommencement of county cricket in Rowland Bowen published his ideas about this in the s when he was the editor of the Cricket Quarterly periodical.
Kent, which had a celebrated team at the time, has long been acknowledged as a champion county in most seasons of the s but in other years there is no clear-cut contender.
The middle years of the 19th century are the period of county club formation. So, when title "claims" were made on behalf of Sussex in and , it was for the same loose association based on Brighton Cricket Club that had a successful season in But claims on behalf of Sussex from were by the Sussex county club, founded in A similar situation existed with both Kent and Surrey.
Nottinghamshire is the only other claimant before the s, starting in , but all of its claims have been made by the county club which was founded in As the popularity of organised cricket grew throughout England, more county clubs came into contention and, by the mids, they included the short-lived Cambridgeshire , Hampshire, Lancashire, Middlesex and Yorkshire. At this time and into the s, the press began to advocate some form of league system and various journals and individuals, including W.
Grace , began publishing their views about who was the champion in a given season. Grace became interested after the Gloucestershire club was founded in , with himself as captain, and laid several claims to the championship during the s. In the s, it became widely accepted that the side with fewest losses should be the champions.
Various lists of unofficial champions began to be compiled by the contemporary press and others, but they are not usually in complete agreement. All "titles" claimed before are strictly unofficial and are based on a contemporary claims made by or on behalf of a particular team and recorded at the time; b reverse analysis performed by a writer who was trying to establish the best team in a given season by reference to the known fixtures and results.
It must be stressed that the purpose of such lists when published has never been to ascribe any kind of ruling but rather to provoke discussion. No real credibility can be attached to such claims except to acknowledge that a team was especially strong over a number of years: From to , the county championship title remained unofficial except that the idea was widely promoted by individuals in the contemporary press and that had not happened hitherto apart from occasional points of view.
Each journalist tended to have his own ideas about the calculation method and the matches to be included, but there was a certain amount of consensus in the main, generally favouring the team with fewest defeats. The list below gives the champions quoted by the most prominent sources, including W. A Weekly Record of the Game — In , player qualification rules came into force which required players to choose at the start of each season whether they would play for the county of their birth or their county of residence.
Before this, it was quite common for a player to play for both counties during the course of a single season. Three meetings were held, and at the last of these, held at The Oval on 9 June , the following rules were decided on:. It was in the s that newspapers began to print tables of inter-county results and then proclaim a champion on the basis of their chosen criteria.
In Arthur Haygarth 's Scores and Biographies , reference is often made to "least matches lost" as a means of deciding the champion. This was a method that, in a modified form, permeated through to the official championship when one point was awarded for a win but one was deducted for a defeat. It was discontinued after as it was deemed to be inherently unsatisfactory and a points per win method replaced it in As Derek Birley describes, the papers did not use standard criteria and so there were several seasons in which any title must be considered "shared", as there was no universally recognised winner.
With no consistency of approach, the issue inevitably led to argument, counter-arguments and confusion until the matter was taken in hand at the meeting of club secretaries in December where the official championship was constituted. In Roy Webber's The County Cricket Championship , he asserts that the championship "is generally accepted as starting in the season but that is a convenient date decided upon many years later" because was "the first season in which rules of county qualification were in operation".
Webber acknowledges the difficulties posed from to by varying programmes with some county clubs playing many more matches than others. For example, in when Derbyshire was held by some to have won the title, they played only four matches while Yorkshire played twelve.
A list of champions for the period would be subjective and in most seasons there would be strongly competing claims. In general, it may be asserted that Gloucestershire with all three Grace brothers were the strongest team in most of the s; Nottinghamshire were in the ascendancy from about to ; and then Surrey from through the start of the official championship in When the annual meeting of county club secretaries was held at Lord's on 10 December , their purpose was to decide on a fixture programme for the season.
As reported by Cricket: A Weekly Record of the Game: The meeting was, we understand, not quite unanimous, but a majority were in favour of ignoring drawn games altogether and settling the question of championship by wins and losses. As it was agreed to abide by the views of the majority, this decision was accepted as final. Subsequently representatives of the following eight minor counties — Derbyshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Hampshire, Somersetshire, Staffordshire, Durham and Essex — held a similar meeting in private, and unanimously decided to apply the same rule to minor county cricket".
M Vijay made a half-century on his Championship debut at Trent Bridge after answering a late-season call-up from Essex. Ross Whiteley led a day of resistance from the bottom club as Surrey realised their much-anticipated Championship title was not about co come easily. After the dramatic tie at Taunton, Somerset's batting folded again but their bowlers kept them in the contest.
Graham Onions and Tom Bailey continued their prolific seasons in a relegation clash Lancashire have to win. RJ Burns , Surr, Left-hand bat. JM Vince , Hants, Right-hand bat.
JC Hildreth , Somst, Right-hand bat. G Onions , Lancs, Right-arm medium-fast. TE Bailey , Lancs, Right-arm fast-medium. SR Harmer , Essex, Right-arm offbreak. To help make this website better, to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept cookies and other technologies?
Matches All times Fixtures Results. England-opener-in-waiting Rory Burns epitomises Surrey success Rory Burns has led from the front but Surrey's title is the result of a strong team ethos and contributions from many quarters.
Brooks' grand goodbye leaves Lancashire fearing the worst Jack Brooks' 9 for in a Roses match awash with relegation fears was a bittersweet gift for a Yorkshire side he will leave at the end of the season. Stewart's homegrown search reaps rich dividends Alec Stewart celebrated Surrey's Championship win by saying: