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British sporting summer not quite over

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Much has been said and written this week about the end of the British sporting summer.

It was initially marked by the finale of the Paralympics whose awesome closing ceremony on Sunday evening reflected the achievements of all those involved in those games and the Olympics before.

Then Andy Murray’s US Open triumph on Monday night, making him the first male British major winner in 76 years, gave fresh cause for celebration.

That, for the majority of Brits, was that. But not for cricket-lovers, who well know the end of the sporting summer is on Saturday when Hampshire play Warwickshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 final at Lord’s.

Gary Ballance & James Foster

Yorkshire's game with Essex at Chelmsford is one of three in the LV= County Championship this week affecting promotion

Before then, the climax of the LV= County Championship is domestic cricket’s prime focus while England were due to play their final NatWest International T20 with South Africa this evening at Edgbaston ahead of the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka.

The last two seasons saw the Division One title thrillingly decided on the final day with Nottinghamshire and Lancashire prevailing deep into the respective final sessions.

With Warwickshire sealing the top-flight crown last week while the Red Rose and Worcestershire were relegated, the promotion race has taken centre stage.

It began finely poised with Division Two leaders Derbyshire, who are hosting Hampshire, a point ahead of Yorkshire and six clear of Kent.

Yorkshire, playing at Essex, yesterday ended Hampshire’s faint hopes of going up. Kent knew in all probability they must beat bottom side Glamorgan at the SWALEC Stadium to finish in the top two.

Bonus points were initially crucial, a fascinating sub-plot to the main storyline. Rain this afternoon, which allowed time for this blog to be written from Derby, at all three matches heightened the tension for all concerned.

Sadly it was an all too familiar sight this summer. Hopefully it will not deny a third straight pulsating championship finale and an exciting Lord’s showpiece.

Having cheered on CB40 holders Surrey (as a fan) to victory last year shortly after their promotion, this writer knows how significant the last week of the British sporting summer can be.

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