Notts set to steal Durham's crown
Tuesday 31 August 2010
This time last season, Durham stood on the brink of a second successive Championship. Few then would have bet against them winning a third this year but it hasn't turned out that way: while Durham have flirted with relegation, it is today's visitors to the Riverside, Nottinghamshire, who look most likely to carry off the pennant.
With a 16-point lead over their closest rivals, Somerset, and this game in hand, it will take a catastrophic stumble to prevent Notts securing their first title since 2005. In truth, it will have been a rather underwhelming success if only because the presence of the Twenty20 cup has made for a somewhat disjointed four-day season. Half of the games were wedged into a short period in spring/early summer and the rest have come in the moist weeks since the Twenty20 finished in mid-August.
Not that this is Nottinghamshire's fault. They have been far and away the most consistent side, burning off the challenge from Yorkshire's talented set of home-grown youngsters in recent weeks. Somerset, meanwhile, probably kissed goodbye to their hopes when Marcus Trescothick inexplicably refused to set up a run-chase at Canterbury at the start of the month.
Notts' challenge has been underpinned by the astute recruitment of overseas players – from Hashim Amla, who shone at the start of the season, through David Hussey, who recently returned to Australia, to Adam Voges, his compatriot and replacement for the season's final matches.
While Nottinghamshire's grip on the trophy tightens, the final relegation spot could also well be decided this week. Essex look as good as down, while Warwickshire and Kent will face off today in the battle to avoid joining them.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
comedy'Fresh Meat' star sees off stiff competition from Alan Carr, David Mitchell, Graham Norton, Lee Mack and Sarah Millican to win top prize
Beatles rush out 'bootleg' album to defy EU copyright law
healthJames Bond's alcohol consumption puts him at 'high risk' of cirrhosis, tremors... and impotence
musicPolice chief rejects rappers' claims that his work is as dangerous as law enforcement or military service
tvSpoiler alert: Find out the result of a heated final show
Harvey Weinstein reveals his secret weapon on-set
Now that an oil trader's drinking has got him sacked, will we all have to make do with an afternoon latte?
Chiwetel Ejiofor and Idris Elba get nods for Best Actor, which no black Brit has ever won
Geoffrey Macnab reviews The Desolation of Smaug - the meat in Peter Jackson's Hobbit sandwich
peopleWhat advice would David Cameron give to his younger self?
World Cup 2014: Football Manager developers predict the team of the tournament - but which England player makes it into the XI?
Transfer news: Manchester United step up chase for Internazionale midfielder Fredy Guarin - reports
Ashes 2013/14 third Test: Is Waca on the way out?
Manchester City should have known rules in Bayern Munich match, says Rafa Benitez
Champions League last 16 draw 2013: Who could Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United meet?
- 1 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 4 Physicists discover 'clearest evidence yet' that the Universe is a hologram
- 5 Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white