Similar to Division One, draws have dominated in the second Division. Batting has dominated, to the extent that just ten games have reached a result. The table is tight, with any team from first to sixth or so capable of promotion. And that’s even harder this year with just one spot available with the divisions changing shape next year.
Essex, revitalised by new head coach Chris Silverwood, top Division Two. Two young top order batsmen – Tom Westley and Nick Browne – have been important, with talk of possible England call-ups for both. With most of their other batsmen contributing too, runs have not been a problem. Graham Napier and Jamie Porter lead the way with the ball, having taken 33 wickets apiece.
Kent are having a strong County Championship season, led by two home-grown talents with the bat – Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sam Northeast. After many years of promise from players such as these, Alex Blake, Adam Ball et al., this could finally be their promotion year. However, Matt Coles’ Kent future is in doubt, which could hinder their progress.
Leicestershire, who finished bottom of the pile in both of the last three seasons, are firmly in the promotion race this time. They have lost just once and look a far more consistent unit. New recruits Neil Dexter, Paul Horton and Mark Pettini have played important roles, as has Australian bowler Clint McKay. Ben Raine has also impressed with the ball.
Gloucestershire are just ten points off the top with games in hand. Chris Dent is fulfilling his vast potential with 712 runs, while Graeme van Buuren has proved an astute signing. Hamish Marshall, in his final season with the county, is batting well and would love a promotion to finish his Gloucestershire career. Liam Norwell and Craig Miles have led the way with the ball, with 25 and 22 wickets respectively.
Worcestershire are a little adrift but are a win away from the top. Their team is based around home-grown talent – Basil D’Oliveira is settling into his role opening the batting, while Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore continue to impress. Joe Leach is having an excellent season with the ball, leading Worcestershire’s wicket-taking charts with 31.
Sussex, relegated from Division One last season, are sixth. They would have hoped to be higher at this stage of the season but they are just a win away from the top. They are unbeaten but have won just once – partly due to a lack of bowlers able to support leading wicket-taker Steve Magoffin. Batting has not been a problem – Ed Joyce has been on fire with 838 runs, while Chris Nash and Luke Wells have also made significant contributions.
Derbyshire are struggling, having yet to win a match, but have lost only twice and a promotion challenge isn’t out of the question. Shiv Thakor, after a middling first season at the club, is having a good season, as is the dependable Wayne Madsen. Thakor, alongside Tony Palladino, has been reasonable with the ball, but desperately need more from their bowlers in order to force valuable wins.
Northants, with an incredibly small squad, are unsurprisingly struggling in eighth with no wins. Ben Duckett is having an excellent year, including the season’s highest score of 282*. Adam Rossington has been the only other significant contributor with the bat, and the bowling has struggled too. Ben Sanderson and Rory Kleinveldt have performed reasonably but they don’t appear to have enough firepower to mount a promotion challenge.
Glamorgan are bottom of Division Two, being the only team to have lost three times. There is some encouragement from the form of youngsters David Lloyd and Aneurin Donald but they have struggled to score enough runs. Michael Hogan and Timm van der Gugten have bowled decently but the attack has not been penetrative enough.
Written by Dan Kingdom (@DanKingdom96)
All Alastair Cook Alex Hales BBC Radio Commentary Ben Coad Ben Duckett Birmingham Bears Chris Read County Championship County Cricket Dan Kingdom Darren Sammy David Bowden Day/Night Cricket Derbyshire Durham England Cricket Essex Glamorgan Gloucestershire Hampshire Harry Hill James Anderson James Vince Jamie Ramage Joe Root Jofra Archer Jonny Bairstow Kent Kevin Hand Watch Kevin Hand-Watch Lancashire Leicestershire Mark Kidger Middlesex Natwest Blast Neil Harris Northamptonshire Nottinghamshire Previews Retrospective Reports RLODC Round Ups Round-ups Season Review Somerset Stuart Broad Surrey Sussex T20 Blast Team Of The Week Virdi Vitality Blast Warwickshire Wocestershire Worcestershire Yorkshire