Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Mystic Richard’s 2008 Predictions – Division 2

Yes I know I said that Hampshire would win Division 1, Kent would be relegated and Essex would go up last season. However, that doesn’t stop me from having another go this season. Division 1 will follow, with the predictions in reverse order.

9 Gloucestershire
Finished 7th last season and with little movement in or out, it’s difficult not to see them going backwards. Marcus North and Steve Kirby look to be their main players with bat and ball and they will be looking for success in the shorter versions of the game.

8 Leicestershire

Stuart Broad won’t be a huge loss to the Foxes as he is likely to spent the season with England rather than in county cricket. However, there is very little in the way of home grown talent and journeyman Kolpaks aplenty.

7 Northamptonshire
Another team looking to rely heavily on Kolpaks, although the ICL seems to have put paid to some of these. Another season of mediocrity beckons.

6 Glamorgan
Bottom of the pile last season, but they seem to have recruited well, with Matt Wood and Jamie Dalrymple talented players looking to kickstart their careers. Add to that the emerging talent coming out of Wales then they seem to be turning the corner. Neutrals will be hoping that this is the case as they seem to be doing a lot more to develop their homegrown talent than the Kolpakshire counties of Northants and Leicester.

5 Worcestershire

Relegated by quite some distance last season, regardless of the problems that the club had with the flooding of the New Road pitch. The signing of Simon Jones is interesting and all England fans will hope that it marks his rehabilitation. With Graeme Hick, Vikram Solanki and Ben Smith, they shouldn’t be short of runs, while Kabir Ali and Fidel Edwards should take wickets. Likely to be one of five teams challenging for promotion, but will come up short.

4 Derbyshire
An interesting off season for Derbyshire, with Rikki Clarke and Nayan Doshi both coming from Surrey and both in the last chance saloon for their respective careers. Mahela Jayawardene should score bucketloads of runs while the underrated bowling attack of Tom Lungley and Graham Wagg will take the wickets to see them in the hunt this season.

3 Warwickshire
An end of season capitulation and a resurgent Surrey saw the Bears relegated and their new recruits on the pitch don’t stir the blood as much as the off field team of Ashley Giles and Allan Donald. A season of rebuilding beckons, particularly as Tim Ambrose and Ian Bell are unlikely to be at Edgbaston much during the summer. Jon Trott and Jim Troughton will score enough runs to make them competitive. However, they will struggle to bowl teams out, even in Division 2.

2 Essex
Surely this has to be the season they go up. Ravi Bopara and James Foster will need big seasons to get them back into the international reckoning, while in Danesh Kaneria they have arguably the most dangerous bowler in the Division. The seam attack looks light, but the recruitment of David Masters looks shrewd.

1 Middlesex
The two teams promoted last season were two of the best seen in Division 2 for a while. Middlesex chased them all the way and should see their efforts better rewarded this season. Ed Joyce, Ed Smith and particularly Owais Shah form the best batting line up in the division, while they will also be looking for Billy Godleman to kick on after a promising first season. The pace attack is reliant on the veterans Chris Silverwood and Alan Richardson with Tim Murtagh giving support, although the highly rated Steve Finn will be looking to play a full season and could be a revelation. Murali Kartik and Shaun Udal provide the spin option and this team is far too good for Division 2.


Tim said...

Great stuff Richard. I'd probably fancy Worcestershire to join Middlesex being promoted. Also be interesting to see how Gilo fares.

Chrispy said...

Good call on Derbyshire being up there, the bowling of Lungley and Wagg is definitely underated. Wagg could yet force his way back into the ODI squad along with Clarke, those are two very dangerous players. I expect a bit of limited overs success with them about.

I also hope Glamorgan do better given their investment in youth. Hard to see past Middlesex, Essex, Warwickshire and Worcestershire for the promotion race.

I do hope Gloucestershire pick up as I may be moving there! More of a one day side with the likes of Kirby, Gidman, Spearman, North and the up and coming Brown.

River Taff End said...

A good read this, and on a personal note, it's nice to see neutral observers predicting a brighter future for my beloved Glamorgan.

I still think that Warwickshire will get promotion, probably with Middlesex. Essex may need to develop more sporting wickets at Chelmsford.

I don't think that Glos will be bottom. I think it's between Glam and Leicestershire, with Glam moving up the one place.

Chrispy said...

The more I think about it the more I feel that Gloucestershire are at least the sixth best team in that division. The bowling attack is comfortably better than what Leics and Northants have to offer and the batting is better than that on offer at Glam. Jon Lewis himself is targetting promotion, but I would agree that that is unrealistic given the strength of the other teams in the division. If Gloucs keep Marshall they may have an outside chance, but they lack a quality spinner.

Colin Crew said...

I must say as a Glos fan that I am not hopeful - Marshall's registration has been approved so with him, Mish, The Spear and Gidders we should make runs in CC Div 2...

...but will we take 20 wickets in many games? Doubtful unless Lewis has a n absolute blinder this season.

martin0201 said...

I think thats about right, although I see us higher than 5th. . think that Derbyshire will start well but ultimately fail whilst Essex' bowling attack is light. Lets just hope for plenty of sunshine!

Anonymous said...

1. Middlesex
2. Essex
3. Derbyshire
4. Warwickshire
5. Glamorgan
6. Worcestershire
7. Gloucestershire
8. Leicestershire
9. Northamptonshire

Peakfan said...

Derbyshire will be improved, but Jayawardena won't score many runs at all.
We have him for the 20/20 and two/three other games.
He'll be pushed to make his thousand...
Rogers should be a very good replacement however.

Anonymous said...

Hmm.... kind of. I do agree that essex and middlesex will be promoted, but i reckon leicestshire will do better than 8. They are a team who are capable of doing much, with the like of Jim allenby, paul nixon, jeremy snape, dippenaar, and ackerman. These guys are all genuine run scorers, and we have some nice colts coming along with the likes of new. Sure, we could have had a stronger bowling line up but i reckon we are aiming for about 5.

River Taff End said...

Good stuff

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