Preview: County Championship Set To Finish In Style

Jamie Ramage
New Update
County Championship Round-up: Hampshire and Sussex secure titles

Hampshire team after the game. ©HampshireCCC

It would be typical that one of the most competitive Royal London One-Day Championships is set to be played for the final time. Next season heralds a new era of professional women's cricket in England and Wales. That, of course, is for another day, so let's concentrate on where the final county championship is head. Hampshire won division one at the first time of asking last year. They will have strong competition this year as among the eight teams vying for the Crown this year anyone of about six sides will consider themselves title contenders.


There is the right blend of experience and youth at Hampshire. Last year they pipped Yorkshire to the title in the final round of games. The experience came in the form of Charlotte Edwards and Suzie Bates. While Edwards won't take to the field this year Bates will again prove invaluable in the field with bat and ball. she will, of course, miss the start of the county championship to take part in the Women's IPL.

Katie George will captain her side this year which is an indication of how respected the 20-year-old is and if she stays injury free an England recall is a real possibility. It is going to be tough for the reigning champions to win back-to-back titles but as last year proved they are capable of winning tight games and that is the mark of a good team.

Players to Watch: Katie George, Charlie Dean, Maia Bouchier.


Yorkshire finished second last year. Even victory on the final day was not enough. They have captain Hollie Armitage back from injury. She will give them some stability at the top of the order. Lauren Winfield started to show some sort of form for England during the winter, Yorkshire will hope England will let her play most of the season.

With Leigh Kasperek available they have a genuine match winner and the underrated Katie Levick their bowling attack look in good order. They might not see much of Katherine Brunt as England will look to manage her workload but with Beth Langston, they have a bowler with more than a point to prove after she lost her central contract with England.

Players to Watch: Katie Levick, Katie Thompson, Leigh Kasperek.


No one has won the county championship as often as Kent. This is the last year for them to confirm their legacy.

They have a good core with players such as new signing Fran Wilson. It will strengthen their batting which already boasts Tammy Beaumont and Alice Davidson-Richards. Laura Marsh will also contribute useful runs at.

Marsh is the experience in the bowling line-up but Megan Belt is a proven wicket-take. Kent will have Tash Farrant available all season after being released from her central contract with England.

Another young player Grace Gibbs who suffered a knee injury in last years WCSL will be keen to get back on the pitch.

Players to Watch: Grace Gibbs, Megan Belt, Tash Farrant.


After winning the county championship in 2017 Lancashire has high hopes of winning the championship in 2018. They finished fourth last year but have the players to challenge yet again.

Eve Jones and Emma Lamb are one of the best opening partnerships. If they get runs consistently then they will always be in the hunt for wins.

Georgie Boyce strengths the batting. Boyce scored regularly for Notts and her stint in the WCSL for Lancashire Thunder saw her score runs at a good strike-rate.

One area where Lancashire have strength is bowling. Kate Cross is a formidable opening bowler and backed up with the spin of Alex Hartley, Sophie Ecclestone and Lamb they don't often let teams get too far away from them.

Players to Watch: Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld, Eve Jones.


The recent investment by Warwickshire in the Women's set up suggests they see a long-term future in women's cricket. They have recited experience in their backroom team. Laura MacLeod is a former England international and will take on the role of Director of Women's Cricket. Dominic Ostler will be the head coach. Ostler was part of the most successful Warwick Men's side that dominated county cricket in the mid-90s.

They have some good but underrated players who if they all click then they will be competitive. They tied two games last season which would have elevated them higher up in the table. If they can convince England that Amy Jones should play most of their games, then that is possible.

Warwickshire will miss the services of Jenny Gunn who has made the switch back to Nottinghamshire.

Players to Watch: Gwenan Davies, Marie Kelly, Thea Brookes.


With the return of Jenny Gunn, there appears to be a bit more balance about the Notts side. They always seemed a batter and a seam bowler short last season. Gunn joins a number of good all-rounders with captain Sonia Odedra and Jodie Cook (Dibble).

It is the bowling that Nottinghamshire looks to have plenty of cover in. Even if Kirstie Gordon is still recovering from injury or as may be likely with the England squad they have spin options in Cook and Lucy Higham. They have young pace bowler Sophie Munro who at only 16 was part of the Yorkshire Diamonds squad at last years WCSL.

Notts have added to their squad with new signings Sarah Bryce the Scotland international is joined by Rachael Potter from Oxfordshire. They have also recruited an overseas player Polly Inglis a wicketkeeper from New Zealand. It gives the squad the hint of depth that was lacking at times last year. While it might not be enough to sustain a title challenge they could influence the direction the trophy travels.

Players to Watch: Sophie Munro, Lucy Higham, Kirstie Gordon.


Having been relegated at the end of the 2017 Sussex bounced back to win the division two title last year. As ever the availability of their England players Danni Wyatt, Freya Davies, Linsey Smith, Georgia Elwiss and Sarah Taylor could play a major factor on where the south coast side finish. Wyatt will miss three games due to commitments in India. Elwiss and Davies are coming back from injury While Taylor's workload will be monitored closely by England.

Sussex still have match winning players such as Georgia Adams the captain, Paige Scholfield who has plenty of KLS experience. They will be in safe hands with Carla Rudd who returns to Sussex after a spell at Berkshire.

There are still players who can have an influence on games such as Izzy Collis and Chiara Green. If they perform as consistently as they did last year albeit against better opposition they could well be there or thereabouts at the end of the competition.

Players to Watch: Freya Davies, Tara Norris, Paige Scholfield.


Surrey finished second in division two last year and was promoted alongside Sussex. The T20 franchise Surrey Stars also won the WCSL last year as well with a core of this Surrey squad. the Women's IPL means that Nat Sciver will miss the first three games but Surrey is confident she will still play a role for them.

Surrey still has some very good players at their disposal. Bryony Smith was part of the England squad just over a year ago and she will be keen to show why she should be there again.

It should be interesting to see just how competitive Surrey are and they have some exciting and interesting players and thee 2019 competition should be an exciting one for a young team.

Players to Watch: Bryony Smith, Eva Gray, Rhianna Southby.