Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final week set for Drama

Gloucestershire v Kent
LIVE ball-by-ball commentary on http://www.gloscricketradio.co.uk/

Gloucestershire enter the final week of the LV county championship season as one of five teams that could claim the second promotion place into the top flight of English cricket.

All the promotion-chasing sides are in action and there will be plenty of key moments that will determine the outcome of the second division.

Essex currently hold second place by just three points, but they travel to Derbyshire who are also in the mix - an Essex win would almost certainly see them promoted; a Derbyshire win would open the door for all the other sides - particularly Glamorgan, who travel to the Oval to play a very downbeat Surrey side, and will certainly fancy their chances of picking up maximum points - a lot will depend on whether Surrey can produce a response to their recent poor performances.

Northamptonshire are in the prime position. They play last-placed Leicestershire, and will be expected to claim victory at Wantage Road - a result that would leave only Essex able to overhaul them. Therefore the betting must surely be with Northants; the chasing pack will be hoping Leicestershire's glimpses of competitive cricket this season - notably against Glos at Grace Road back in August - can hold their opponents.

Gloucestershire need to beat Kent at Bristol, probably with maximum points. They will not be facing Martin van Jaarsveld, who has flown home for personal reasons, nor Ryan MacLaren, who has also returned to South Africa.

A result wicket is likely at Bristol, therefore Glos will most probably go with the side that beat Surrey, as they will not want to provide Kent spinner James Tredwell with any encouragement and they will back themselves to out-bowl Kent in the seam department. Those tactics however, would make batting points a touch trickier to come-by, but a four-day draw cannot be risked given the circumstances.

Gloucestershire will be looking to avenge defeat at Beckenham earlier this season, where they competed well against a Kent side then below them in the table; how their respective fortunes have differred since that fixture.

The narrowest league table since the divisional split in 2000 could see any one of several very well matched teams gain promotion - who will be able to seize the opportunity in this final round?

Gloucestershire (from): W. Porterfield, K. Ali, H. Marshall, A. Gidman (c), C. Taylor, J. Franklin, S. Adshead (wkt), R. Dawson, I. Saxelby, J. Lewis, S. Kirby, A. Ireland, R. Woodman, G. Hussain

Kent (from): R. Key (c), S. Northeast, G. Jones (wkt), J. Hockley, D. Stevens, J. Kemp, A. Blake, J. Tredwell, S. Cook, A. Khan, M. Coles, F. Edwards

Follow the final round of the county championship LIVE on www.gloscricketradio.co.uk from 10:25 on Wednesday.

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