A day in the sun on Saturday saw Kent defeat Lancashire to win the Royal London One Day Cup but as it is with the county schedule attention swiftly changes back to the County Championship. Two weeks remain of the season with every team involved in both of the final rounds with titles,
promotions and relegations to decide.

In Division One, third plays fourth as Lancashire travel to Chelmsford to face Essex. The bottom side Gloucestershire host Warwickshire with their fate all but sealed whilst the visitors dropped into the relegation zone after last week. Title contenders Hampshire play the relegation threatened Kent at the Ageas Bowl. Moving west and Somerset having risen to seventh host Northamptonshire. Finally, top placed Surrey play Yorkshire at the specially named Micky Stewart Oval.

In Division Two, Durham on the back of their second win of the season play the side they leapfrogged in the table in Sussex. Then just like in Division One third plays fourth with Derbyshire travelling to play Glamorgan with promotion top of the agenda. Fellow promotion rivals Middlesex are away to bottom side Leicestershire. Whilst top of the table Nottinghamshire can secure a Division One place against Worcestershire.
With all 18 counties playing you won’t need to worry about any players with blank gameweeks with the main piece of availability news being those involved in England’s tour to Pakistan aren’t around and this will be the case for some involved in the recent Test series with South Africa.

Essex v Lancashire
A game with very little significance on it in deciding who is crowned champions and who goes down but an important one nonetheless as both sides battle to finish third behind Surrey and Hampshire. Essex moved into third as a result of their narrow one wicket victory over Yorkshire last week, making full use of the game in hand over Lancashire. Whilst the Red Rose had a week off after the stalemate in the Roses clash against the same opponent. The star last week for Essex came from an unlikely source in Shane Snater with the bat. The Dutchman made over 100 runs in the match including a match winning half century in the run chase and took a couple of wickets too highlighting his all round ability. Sam Cook, Jamie Porter and Ben Alisson all contributed with the ball and will be boosted by the returning Simon Harmer this week. On the batting front, it was a typical Essex performance as the fragility of their top order was exposed throughout the game with Dan Lawrence passing 50 in the first innings and the tail bailing them out on both occasions.

There was no County Championship game for Lancashire last week, but they suffered the disappointment of a second final loss of the summer on Saturday and will need to pick themselves up from that. The captain of that side Keaton Jennings has been an integral member of the four day team this summer piling on runs at every opportunity including a 100 in the Roses game. His opening partner, Luke Wells, also made a century in that game and at lightning speed too. Someone not playing in the final was Matt Parkinson and he could be set to play a key role this week alongside Tom Hartley. Chelmsford is known to be spin friendly with Harmer taking many a five wicket haul at the venue in years gone by. Alternatively, if conditions go the other way Tom Bailey and Will Williams have performed consistently over the summer and would be eager to have an attempt at breaking the fragile Essex top order.

Harrison’s Top Pick: There’s so many options in this game to choose. Jennings, Harmer and Matt Critchley were all considered but Luke Wells is my choice. The left handed opener since moving from Sussex has made great progress in his game and his handy off/leg spin could well play a role in this game too.

Budget Enabler: I’ve spoke at length about him already but Shane Snater from a fantasy perspective offers great value at 92K. Down as a bowler in the game he is a certainty to contribute with ball and bat at some point during the game and is not averse to pulling his side out of the fire.

Predicted XIs
Essex: Alistair Cook, Nick Browne, Tom Westley ©, Dan Lawrence, Feroze Khushi, Matt Critchley, Adam Rossington (wk), Shane Snater, Simon Harmer, Sam Cook, Jamie Porter

Lancashire: Keaton Jennings, Luke Wells, Josh Bohannon, Steven Croft, Rob Jones, Dane Vilas (c, wk), George Balderson, Tom Bailey, Tom Hartley, Will Williams, Matt Parkinson

Gloucestershire v Warwickshire
From events at the top of the table to events at the bottom of the table as ninth placed Warwickshire travel to Bristol to face tenth placed Gloucestershire. The home side’s stay in Division One is all but over with two big wins needed and results elsewhere to go their way. The draw and
missed opportunity against Somerset two weeks ago is looking costly.

Whilst for the Bears they dropped into the danger zone after last week’s draw with Somerset but are level on points with eighth placed Kent.
Bristol has been the fifth best place to bat in the country this summer with an average of 39.89 runs per wicket and that becomes third best once out grounds are removed. However, the flat wickets that have typified their season will likely be discarded this week for a results pitch as they look to
pull off the impossible. The returning Chris Dent and Zafar Gohar will provide them with a much needed boost. A negative for them is the departure of Marcus Harris. His 100 last time out at Taunton set the game
up albeit they were unable to capitalise on that due to some slow batting and ultimately the English weather. The form of Ollie and Tom Price in recent games has made them valuable assets though with Ollie consistently making scores in the number three spot whilst Tom has shown his wicket
taking ability in a struggling seam attack.

The visitors arrive with a similar side to the one that drew last week. However, wicket keeper bat Michael Burgess is unavailable for personal reasons that will cause a reshuffle in the batting department. Alex Davies will likely deputise with the gloves and may well see Rob Yates and Dom
Sibley reunited as an opening pair with the run scoring impetus further shifting onto the man of the moment Sam Hain. Warwickshire’s performance last week was led by Indian international Mohammed Siraj whose first innings five wicket haul set the tone and his arrival has provided further support to the likes of Ollie Hannon-Dalby and Henry Brookes. Jayant Yadav also made an impression in the spin department with Danny Briggs and those two could be crucial if Gloucestershire look to play to the strengths of Gohar.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Sam Hain has been in some unbelievable form all summer across the County Championship and T20 Blast. His runs last week saw him pass 1000 in the competition and more could well follow against a pace attack lacking that X-Factor option.

Budget Enabler: Ollie Price has been on the fringes of the Gloucestershire team for a while now but is starting to make a spot his own. Four half centuries have come in 11 innings this summer and he is displaying all the signs of a resolute top order option. At 53K if you have a spot to fill, you can’t turn him down.

Predicted XIs
Gloucestershire: Chris Dent, Ben Charlesworth, Ollie Price, Miles Hammond, James Bracey (wk), Graeme van Buuren ©, Jack Taylor, Zafar Gohar, Tom Price, David Payne, Dom Goodman

Warwickshire: Dom Sibley, Rob Yates, Dan Mousley, Sam Hain, Will Rhodes ©, Alex Davies (wk), Jayant Yadav, Danny Briggs, George Garrett, Henry Brookes, Ollie Hannon-Dalby

Hampshire v Kent
The T20 Blast and One Day Cup winners meet in the longer format of the game with one side’s short form success mirroring their red ball form whilst for the other, it’s been the opposite. Hampshire sit eight points behind Surrey in the table after no game last week whilst Kent also had no game but plunged closer to relegation consequently. The earlier season meeting of Hampshire winning by an innings and 51 runs highlights the gap between the two sides as does the 98 point difference in the
table.

There’s good and bad news for Hampshire going into this game. Ben Brown has recovered from his finger injury and will take back the gloves from Anuerin Donald, who filled in well. However, Liam Dawson, a key component to the balance of the side, is away with England. This could open the opportunity to Mason Crane or Tom Prest. It could also see Felix Organ taking on an increased role with the ball. He made a 100 in the reverse fixture and has been on the up in recent weeks and his ability with the ball goes under the radar at times. People who don’t go under the radar is the trio of Keith Barker, Kyle Abbott and Mohammed Abbas and they will be raring for another go on the seam friendly Ageas pitch.

For Kent it’s been a horror show to say the least in red ball cricket this summer. Many will remember them winning Division Three in 2021 but they couldn’t be any further from that joy. Relegation has been a threat all season but is now an imminent one with Warwickshire having an easier fixture this week that could likely see Kent drop into the relegation zone.
The losses of Matt Henry and Navdeep Saini to a weak bowling department is a major body blow and they were behind their mid-summer revival. The batting department has been a strength but the main source of runs, Ben Compton, has dried up and Hampshire’s bowlers have already blown them
away in 2022.

Harrison’s Top Pick: It could easily be any of the Hampshire seam attack such has been their relentless impressive form, but Kyle Abbott is the choice this week. He started the season slowly but his hat trick at Cheltenham was the start of his revitalisation and he has become the leading figure of the attack and has rediscovered his form with the bat too.

Budget Enabler: Donald took the gloves last time out and also made a quickfire 94 with the bat after a mixed season for him. The inconsistency remains but at 74K if you’re looking for a cheap Hampshire batter against a weak Kent bowling attack, he could be your man.

Predicted XIs
Hampshire: Felix Organ, Ian Holland, Joe Weatherley, Nick Gubbins, James Vince ©, Ben Brown (wk), Aneurin Donald, James Fuller, Keith Barker, Kyle Abbott, Mohammad Abbas

Kent: Ben Compton, Ollie Robinson, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Joe Denly, Jack Leaning, Sam Billings (c, wk), Joey Evison, Grant Stewart, Matt Milnes, Matthew Quinn, Harry Podmore

Somerset v Northamptonshire
Going into the season if anyone asked you where you see Somerset and Northamptonshire finishing most would’ve had it the opposite way round to what’s unfolding right now. Somerset have given themselves a gap albeit a small one over those behind with the Warwickshire draw. Whilst Northamptonshire bounced back from the crazy Hampshire defeat to blunt Surrey and earn a draw. The big absentee for Somerset in recent games has been Craig Overton but he has been passed fit and that comes as a timely boost to the side. His record in county cricket needs no introduction and
he will provide support to Jack Brooks and Kasey Aldridge who’ve starred recently.

Also, coming as a boost to this side is the second innings display with the bat last week. It was one full of grit and resilience to keep the Warwickshire attack at bay. Tom Abell was back in the runs as Tom Lammonby and Lewis Goldsworthy also contributed. But the main star was George Bartlett’s
100 that ensured they left Edgbaston with a draw.

In 2021, Northamptonshire beat Surrey and although they couldn’t repeat the feat, the draw would’ve tasted like a victory as it was another rear guard effort with the bat that has underlined their season. Centuries across the game from the ever impressive Emilio Gay, Rob Keogh and returning Saif Zaib as well as a second innings 79 from Ricardo Vasconcelos saw them to a 12 point draw. Keogh also took four wickets with the ball, further showing his all-round ability, but the seamers struggled to make regular inroads again and remains a weak point of the side.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Keogh is down as a batter in the game but his 29 wickets this season to go alongside 771 disproves that and therefore makes him more valuable as you can in effect have an extra all rounder in your side. At 119K too, it’s a very valuable choice.

Budget Enabler: Kasey Aldridge’s quick two wickets on the final day against Warwickshire breathed life into a potential win and it’s displays like that, that have been becoming more consistent of late and with him being 57K at a seam friendly Taunton, he could be the perfect choice.

Predicted XIs

Somerset: Tom Lammonby, Imam-ul-Haq, Tom Abell ©, George Bartlett, Lewis Goldsworthy, James Rew (wk), Lewis Gregory, Craig Overton, Sajid Khan, Josh Davey, Jack Brooks

Northamptonshire: Will Young ©, Emilio Gay, Luke Procter, Rob Keogh, Josh Cobb, Ricardo Vasconcelos (wk), Saif Zaib, Gareth Berg, Lizaad Williams, Ben Sanderson, Jack White

Surrey v Yorkshire
Two old foes meet once again in London. This time at the specially named Mickey Stewart Oval. Surrey’s main focus will be getting back to winning ways after the draw in Northamptonshire last week but may also be seeking revenge after Yorkshire were the side who ended their pursuit of the T20 Blast trophy. For Yorkshire, relegation is still a threat after the loss to Essex and they will be on the hunt for some valuable points.

Surrey are boosted by the returning Ollie Pope and Ben Foakes from England whilst Jamie Overton is back from injury too. Sam Curran and Will Jacks are of course still away with England. Pope and Foakes will reinforce a weaker batting line-up that was led by the experienced Hashim Amla and unlikely Tom Curran last week with their centuries. Kemar Roach and Dan Worrall will once again be called upon to carry the burden of the attack on a batting friendly Oval deck as the exclusion of Dan Moriarty and Amar Virdi continues from the Championship side with Cameron Steel
fulfilling the spinner’s role.

Yorkshire have had a mixed season and despite only winning once manage to sit in the relative comfort of sixth with seven draws from their 12 games. Their pace attack has been the main strength this summer and that was on show against Essex. Ben Coad, Jordan Thompson, Steven Patterson and George Hill all took several wickets but the similar nature of them may well be blunted at the Oval. Ben Mike could make his debut in this game too.
On the batting front, Finlay Bean opening the batting has made an impression in his first couple of games and alongside Hill, who remains cheap, are showing the future of the county’s batting. The soon to depart Tom Kohler-Cadmore had a quiet game against Essex but is someone that could well enjoy the delights of the Oval.

Harrison’s Top Pick: September is usually a time for bowlers and Roach showed that with a five wicket haul last week. Yorkshire’s batting line-up whilst exciting is young and brittle at the same time and Roach’s experience in his craft and ability to move the ball could prove critical.

Budget Enabler: I’ve picked him here before, but it is once again Hill for Yorkshire. He remains under 60K and contributions with bat and ball keep on coming even if he took a wicket overstepping last week.

Predicted XIs
Surrey: Rory Burns ©, Ryan Patel, Hashim Amla, Ollie Pope, Ben Foakes (wk), Jamie Smith, Cameron Steel, Jordan Clark, Jamie Overton, Kemar Roach, Dan Worrall

Yorkshire: Adam Lyth, Finlay Bean, George Hill, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Will Fraine, Jonny Tattersall (c, wk), Dom Bess, Ben Mike, Jordan Thompson, Ben Coad, Steve Patterson

Division Two

Durham v Sussex
The final few weeks for the lower placed sides in Division Two can be a weird one with little to play and this game falls into that category as sixth hosts seventh. Durham defeated eighth placed Leicestershire last week in a comfortable manner whilst Sussex battled to a draw on the final day
against an impressive Worcestershire side. Durham’s home ground has been the sixth most friendly for batting this summer with an average of
36.81 runs per wicket. The likes of Michael Jones and Sean Dickson have enjoyed that especially as did Alex Lees when not with England or unavailable as he is this week. Nic Maddinson could also cash in on it this week after returning to some form against Leicestershire. Chris Rushworth has been ruled out for the season, so the onus fall onto Ben Raine and England’s Matt Potts, who took an exceptional 13 wicket haul last game, with the ball. Liam Trevaskis may well come back into the XI as a spin option after being left out against Leicestershire.

For Sussex, it’s been another steep learning curve for their side this season and they enjoyed the riches of Cheteshwar Pujara and Mohammed Rizwan earlier on. They currently have Faheem Ashraf in as an overseas although he failed to make the desired impact with the ball on debut going at over
six an over. An all too common story for the Sussex bowlers this summer but Jack Carson returned from injury and reminded everyone of his wicket taking abilities. The one area they haven’t struggled is batting. Pujara led the way but Tom Alsop, after moving from Hampshire, has particularly starred including 137 to save the game last week. Fynn Hudson-Prentice,
James Coles, Ollie Carter and Carson also made half centuries last week. The Tom duo, Haines and Clark, didn’t contribute last week but have done on plenty of occasions in 2022.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Whilst Sussex have excelled batting wise, Matt Potts has not let anything get in his way up to this point this summer and therefore he’s my choice. His performance last week was quite simply destructive and would’ve sent shudders down the spines of Sussex batters this week ready for the challenge.

Budget Enabler: Michael Jones after a good showing the week before made 97 and a 50 last week against Leicestershire further underlining his form this summer. At 79K on a friendly batting surface and against a weak attack, he could well cash in.

Predicted XIs
Durham: Michael Jones, Sean Dickson, Nic Maddinson, Scott Borthwick ©, David Bedingham, Liam Trevaskis, Paul Coughlin, Tom Mackintosh (wk), Ben Raine, Matt Potts, Oliver Gibson

Sussex: Ali Orr, Tom Haines ©, Tom Alsop, Tom Clark, Ollie Carter (wk), Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Faheem Ashraf, James Coles, Jack Carson, Brad Currie, Henry Crocombe

Glamorgan v Derbyshire
From a game with little riding on it to one with several counties fates riding on it. Glamorgan sit in third despite failing to win since the return of the County Championship and suffering a heavy defeat to Middlesex last week. Meanwhile, Derbyshire are just seven points behind after a week off and
after their draw against Durham. Glamorgan’s poor batting display against Worcestershire would’ve set bells ringing for the coaches but it was replicated again last week against Middlesex and with no rain around it proved costly in losing the match. David Lloyd (70) and Eddie Byrom (47) got them off to a strong start in the second innings before the rest fell away in rapid time. Chris Cooke also passed 50 in the first innings but there was little else to write home about. On the bowling front it was James Harris leading the way again with a five wicket haul as star overseas Ajaz Patel couldn’t have an effect on the Lords surface. The rest of the seam attack
struggled again as they did the previous week against Worcestershire, players you may want to stay away from again this week.

2022 has been about a new era for Derbyshire under Mickey Arthur but one of the key figures behind the rise in Shan Masood isn’t available for the remaining games because of a Pakistan call up. This is a significant blow to a burgeoning batting department. Thankfully for Derbyshire fans they still
have the likes of Brooke Guest, Leus Du Plooy and Anuj Dal to call upon.
In the new era, Derbyshire have seen Sam Conners called up to the Lions after his impressive performances and he did just that last time out against Durham. Adam Sylvester has received his first callup to the first XI for this week and may well get an opportunity alongside Conners, Nick Potts
and Ben Aitchson.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Dal has been having a quite simply ridiculous season for the Derby based county. He is averging over 70 with the bat and has also taken 30 wickets with the ball. Plus, for fantasy managers he will only set you back 106K.

Budget Enabler: Byrom burst onto the scene with Somerset in a T20 but since then his career has gone down a quieter path that has resulted in a move to Glamorgan. However, he is starting to make strides at the top of the order with an average north of 50 this summer and only costs 88K too.

Predicted XIs
Glamorgan: David Lloyd ©, Eddie Byrom, Shubman Gill, Sam Northeast, Kiran Carlson, Chris Cooke (wk), Billy Root, James Harris, Timm van der Gugten, Ajaz Patel, Michael Hogan

Derbyshire: Billy Godleman ©, Luis Reece, Brooke Guest (wk), Wayne Madsen, Leus Du Plooy, Anuj Dal, Alex Thomson, Sam Conner, Nick Potts, Ben Aitchison, Adam Sylvester

Leicestershire v Middlesex
A game between two sides whose fortunes have been starkly different this season. Leicestershire sit bottom and haven’t won yet after the heavy defeat to Durham last time out. Whilst Middlesex are making a charge for promotion and have moved into second after beating Glamorgan. One thing that could hinder them is the typically batting friendly Grace Road pitch but that didn’t halt Durham at all last week. For Leicestershire 2020 and 2021 showed a lot of promise for the future of their red ball game but
that’s all come crashing down this summer. Bowlers have perennially struggled with Chris Wright and Callum Parkinson taking four and three wickets respectively last week but others and themselves haven’t done it consistently over the course of the season.

The addition of Sol Budinger had an immediate effect with a first day 50 and they will be hoping that is a sign of things to come for a batting unit that has been blown away on far too many occasions this summer. Louis Kimber also made his mark with a battling half century in the second innings. Colin Ackermann and Rishi Patel have contributed at different times this seasons and fans will be hoping they can do so before the season is over. Over the course of the season, Middlesex have steadily gone about their business and are now positioned well going into the final games. A key figure of that has been Toby Roland-Jones. He’s been one of the best bowlers in the division and replicated that last week. He joined forces with
captain Tim Murtagh, Ethan Bamber and the returning Ryan Higgins to decimate Glamorgan. Higgins’ four wicket haul showed he can be the perfect replacement for the injured Umesh Yadav. On the batting side of things, Mark Stoneman made an impeccable 128 last week and he and Sam
Robson as ex England openers have formed a formidable partnership and with Pieter Malan, Steven Eskinazi and John Simpson below them, that’s a quality line-up you would expect to be in Division One.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Higgins has just returned to Middlesex from Gloucestershire, but his impact was immediately felt in his first game. Four wickets and 40 with the bat showcased his all-round ability.

Budget Enabler: There’s many options to choose from Middlesex but a slightly left field one is Luke Hollman. A lower order batter who also provides a bowling option is averaging over 100 points a game and only costs just over 100K.

Predicted XIs
Leicestershire: Sam Evans, Sol Budinger, Rishi Patel, Colin Ackermann, Louis Kimber, Harry Swindells (wk), Tom Scriven, Roman Walker, Callum Parkinson ©, Chris Wright, Michael Finan

Middlesex: Mark Stoneman, Sam Robson, Pieter Malan, Steven Eskinazi, Max Holden, John Simpson (wk), Ryan Higgins, Luke Hollman, Toby Roland-Jones, Ethan Bamber, Tim Murtagh ©

Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire
Just like Glamorgan v Derbyshire, Worcestershire v Nottinghamshire has all its attention on matters at the top of the table. The away side sit top and are a handful of points away from securing a spot in Division One next summer. Whilst Worcestershire after another rain affected draw sit in fifth with their promotion chances being reliant on other results. The main positive coming out of the draw at Sussex for the Pears was Jake Libby’s return to form with a double century. He hasn’t hit the heights of his 1000 run season in 2021 but it provides his side with a late boost. Ed Pollock also starred last week with 98 in a mixed season for the attacking opener. Joe Leach impressed with six wickets, but he isn’t in the squad this week and has been replaced by Matthew Waite after being signed from Yorkshire. Ben Gibbon and Dillion Pennington were also in the wickets and provide you with cheap options whilst tried and tested Ed Barnard had a quiet week.

For Nottinghamshire they enjoyed a week off since their win against Leicestershire a couple of weeks back. Their squad remains the same from that game with Matthew Montgomery filling in for Ben Duckett whose in Pakistan and he did that well against Leicestershire with a couple of scores
short of fifty as all other batters made scores too. The bowling attack has been a particular strength for this side over the summer and enjoyed having James Pattinson and Stuart Broad at times. However, it’s been the ever present Dane Paterson whose particularly impressed. This is as well as Luke Fletcher, Brett Hutton and veteran Steven Mullaney. Liam Patterson-White adds a high quality spin option to compliment the seam attack too.

Harrison’s Top Pick: Dane Paterson has been the star of the bowling attack over the course of the season. He has taken 49 wickets at an average just over 21 with two five wicket hauls. At 144K he will set you back a fair bit, but he is averaging 158.80 points per game.

Budget Enabler: Montgomery was the choice last time and he is again. He’s only played a handful of games for Nottinghamshire this summer but has always impressed and at 54K he can free up your resources for other areas of your team.

Predicted XIs
Worcestershire: Ed Pollock, Jake Libby, Azhar Ali, Jack Haynes, Brett D’Oliveira ©, Ed Barnard, Gareth Roderick (wk), Matthew Waite, Josh Tongue, Dillion Pennington, Ben Gibbon

Nottinghamshire: Ben Slater, Haseeb Hameed, Matthew Montgomery, Joe Clarke, Steven Mullaney ©, Tom Moores (wk), Lyndon James, Liam Patterson-White, Luke Fletcher, Brett Hutton, Dane Paterson

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