Trio set for championship battle

Lv County Championship

Chris Read & Notts

Chris Read's Notts hold the advantage in the race for the championship title, but Somerset and Yorkshire remain very much in contention

The LV= County Championship enters its final round of games tomorrow and it is sure to be a thrilling finale.

In Division One, three teams are battling it out to win the title, while at the other end of the table the relegation fight will also go down to the wire.

Nottinghamshire head into their clash with Lancashire with a slight advantage given they lead second-placed Somerset by two points.

The visitors need to take 22 points from the game to claim their first title since 2005, although they could still win it in with less if other results go their way.

They will be boosted by Ryan Sidebottom returning to the ranks after he was released from England one-day duty.

The match will be the left-arm seamer's last for Notts and another championship medal would be a fitting end to his stay.

Nottinghamshire squad: Alex Hales, Paul Franks, Mark Wagh, Adam Voges, Samit Patel, Ali Brown, Chris Read (captain, wicketkeeper), Steven Mullaney, Andre Adams, Ryan Sidebottom, Darren Pattinson, Graeme White, Luke Fletcher.

Lancashire squad: Glen Chapple (captain), Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Chilton, Steven Croft, Gareth Cross (wicketkeeper), Kyle Hogg, Paul Horton, Gary Keedy, Simon Kerrigan, Sajid Mahmood, Luke Procter, Tom Smith.

Somerset, who face defending champions Durham, look best placed to challenge Notts and claim the first championship title in their history.

Marcus Trescothick’s troops have been brilliant in all forms of the game this year, following up an excellent Friends Provident t20 campaign, in which they were beaten finalists, by securing a place in Saturday’s Clydesdale Bank 40 final.

However, the Championship is undoubtedly the ultimate goal and they will be desperate to end their 118-year wait for the biggest prize in England’s domestic game.

Yorkshire are also in the hunt after their five-wicket victory over Notts this week.

Andrew Gale’s side went into the clash at Trent Bridge knowing they needed to win to stay in contention and responded with aplomb, bowling Notts out for just 59 en route to claiming a comprehensive win.

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen will again be in action for Surrey when they do battle with Gloucestershire in a dead rubber at Bristol

They will need to secure victory again, at home to Kent, if they are to be successful in their hunt for a 31st championship title, though.

The game takes on equal importance for Kent, who also need to win to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation.

Rob Key’s side are 15 points adrift of seventh place and will need Warwickshire to slip up in their encounter with Hampshire at the Rose Bowl.

Their hopes could be boosted with the news Simon Jones could make his four-day bow for Hampshire.

The seamer has seen his hugely-promising career savaged by injury since his spectacular performance in the 2005 Ashes, playing just 14 first-class matches in the ensuing years.

However, he looks set to make his first four-day appearance since August 2008.

Hampshire squad: Jimmy Adams, Sean Ervine, Liam Dawson, Simon Jones, Dominic Cork (captain), James Vince, Michael Carberry, Michael Bates (wicketkeeper), Danny Briggs, James Tomlinson, Chris Wood, Phil Hughes, Hamza Riazuddin.

The Division Two title race is already over, with Sussex securing an immediate return to the top tier, but there is still plenty to play for.

Both Glamorgan and Worcestershire will be hoping to scoop the second promotion place, with the former in the advantageous position of holding a nine-point lead over their rivals.

And they will be confident of getting the points they need in their home clash with Derbyshire.

Glamorgan squad: Gareth Rees, Mark Cosgrove, Tom Maynard, Ben Wright, Jamie Dalrymple (captain) Jim Allenby, Mark Wallace (wicketkeeper), James Harris, Robert Croft, Dean Cosker, David Harrison, Huw Waters, Will Owen.

Should Glamorgan slip up, Worcestershire will be hoping to pounce by claiming victory against Sussex.

Kevin Pietersen will play the final game of his loan spell with Surrey when they battle it out with Gloucestershire.

Meanwhile, Northamptonshire will finish their campaign with a home dead rubber against Leicestershire.

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